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Saturday, October 31, 2015

Happy Birthday, Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965!

This month marks the 50th Anniversary of LBJ's signing of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965.  The 1965 Immigration Act is, in a way, (I believe) the most important and effective of the great legislative accomplishments of the Second Reconstruction.  Equal voting rights remain elusive half a century after the Voting Rights Act of 1965; of course, the Act was partially invalidated, and faces further challenges.  And very few think that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 has more or less eradicated discrimination from employment and public accommodations.  But through the 1965 Immigration Act, federal immigration law, which had been a cornerstone of White Supremacy policy in the United States before 1965, put the U.S. on track to be a majority minority nation in little more than a generation from now.  The policy change wrought by the 1965 Immigration Act was relatively abrupt, and relatively complete.  As Rose Cuison Villazor and I note in a piece on The Huffington Post,  three-quarters of immigrants before 1965 where white, and since then, operating on a race-neutral basis (at least in the sense that there are no formal racial preferences or barriers), three-quarters or more have been from Asia, Africa, or Latin or South America.  Rose and I edited (and wrote chapters for) a book on the Act, The Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965: Legislating a New America, published this month by Cambridge University Press.  On this C-SPAN program, Rose, Deep Gulasekaram, and Jayeth Rathod, among others, discuss the 1965 Immigration Act.

Posted by Jack Chin on October 31, 2015 at 02:21 PM in Immigration | Permalink

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