President Lyndon B. The United States has long struggled to define what it really means to become American and which immigrants qualify.
Conservatives, led by Representative Michael Feighan, an Ohio Democrat, managed to change those priorities, giving visa preferences instead to foreigners who were seeking to join their families in the United States. We want to hear what you think about this article. This article is part of our Next America: Opponents of the reform proposal had argued that the United States was fundamentally a European country and should stay that way.
The 1965 Immigration Act has never gotten the attention it warrants as the law that finally made America the open nation it had long claimed to be.
The 1965 Immigration and Nationality Act, whose 50th anniversary comes on October 3, officially committed the United States, for the first time, to accepting immigrants of all nationalities on a roughly equal basis.
Even legal immigrants face hostility these days, though, as the prospect of a nonwhite U.
A Great American Immigration Story. But such analyses missed the irony at the heart of a law whose most revolutionary provision was originally intended to bolster the status quo.
In the subsequent half century, the pattern of U. Seven out of every eight immigrants in 1960 were from Europe; by 2010, nine out of ten were coming from other parts of the world. Some conservatives subsequently argued that the 1965 Immigration Act had been a scheme to curry favor with liberal special interest groups or even to establish a future demographic base for the Democratic Party.
The 1965 Immigration Act was largely responsible for that shift. For supporters, the intent of the legislation was to bring immigration policy into line with other anti-discrimination measures, not to fundamentally change the face of the nation.
But its effects were largely inadvertent. Communities project, which is supported by a grant from Emerson Collective. The law eliminated the use of national-origin quotas, under which the overwhelming majority of immigrant visas were set aside for people coming from northern and western Europe.
The more typical response to the nativist arguments was simply to deny that the proposed immigration reform would bring any significant shift in the pattern of immigration. The heightened emphasis on family unification, rather than replicating the existing ethnic structure of the American population, led to the phenomenon of chain migration.
The naturalization of a single immigrant from an Asian or African or Hispanic background opened the door to his or her brothers and sisters and their spouses, who in turn could sponsor their own brothers and sisters. Only a few supporters of the 1965 legislation said the country could and should be willing to accommodate more immigrants of color. Such questions should have been settled 50 years ago with the passage of the 1965 Act.