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  1. October 03, 1965. H.R. 2580, 82nd Congress, 1st sess. Judiciary Committee Chairman Emmanuel Celler introduced H.R. 2580 on January 15, 1965. The bill would eventually become law as the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965. On this date, in a ceremony at the base of the Statue of Liberty, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed into law the ...

  2. The Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 is thus considered landmark civil rights legislation. The Hart-Cellar Act replaced the national origins quota system with a new preference system that privileged family reunification and skilled workers. Preference was given to the family members of US citizens and permanent residents. In addition ...

  3. The Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965, also known as the Hart–Celler Act, is a federal law passed by the 89th United States Congress and signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson. The law abolished the National Origins Formula, which had been the basis of U.S. immigration policy since the 1920s.

  4. The Immigration Act of 1965, then, comprised a complex of measures that promoted both greater inclusions and greater exclusions. The chief gain on the inclusionary side of the register was, of course, the abolition of the national origins quota system. Eastern and southern Europeans, the principal objects of exclusion in the Immigration Act of ...

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    So said President Lyndon Johnson at the signing of the Hart-Celler Immigration Bill thirty years ago next month, on Oct. 3, 1965. The legislation, which phased out the national origins quota system first instituted in 1921, created the foundation of today's immigration law. And, contrary to the president's assertions, it inaugurated a new era of mass immigration which has affected the lives of millions. Despite modifications, the framework established by the 1965 act remains intact today. And, while the reform proposals now being discussed in Congress, the administration, and the Commission on Immigration Reform would reduce the total number of legal immigrants, they would maintain the fundamentals of the 1965 act — family reunification and employment preferences. So it behooves us on this 30th anniversary to look at the act and the expectations its sponsors had for it. Under the old system, admission largely depended upon an immigrant's country of birth. Seventy percent of all immi...

    The liberalization of immigration policy reflected in the 1965 legislation can be understood as part of the evolutionary trend in federal policy after World War II to end legal discrimination based on race and ethnicity — essentially, the immigration bill was mainly seen as an extension of the civil rights movement,and a symbolic one at that, expected to bring few changes in its wake. In 1957, Congress passed the first civil rights law since Reconstruction, another in 1960, and two important bills in 1964 and 1965. Moreover, Supreme Court decisions and state and local laws also struck at the remnants of legal racism. The immigration bill was merely another step in this process. The connection between civil rights legislation and abolishing the national origins quotas was explicit. As Rep. Philip Burton (D-CA) said in Congress: And Rep. Robert Sweeney (D-OH) said: Other politicians also thought the immigration law needed to be changed. Much earlier, President Truman, in the message a...

    The Hart-Celler Act of 1965: 1. Established the basic structure of today's immigration law. 2. Abolished the national origins quota system (originally established in 1921 and most recently modified in 1952), while attempting to keep immigration to a manageable level. Family reunification became the cornerstone of U.S. immigration policy. 3. Allocated 170,000 visas to countries in the Eastern Hemisphere and 120,000 to countries in the Western Hemisphere. This increased the annual ceiling on immigrants from 150,000 to 290,000. Each Eastern-Hemisphere country was allowed an allotment of 20,000 visas, while in the Western Hemisphere there was no per-country limit. This was the first time any numerical limitation had been placed on immigration from the Western Hemisphere. Non-quota immigrants and immediate relatives (i.e., spouses, minor children, and parents of U.S. citizens over the age of 21) were not to be counted as part of either the hemispheric or country ceiling. 4. For the first...

    Although the 1965 bill was intended only to end discrimination, some people feared a major increase in immigration and a change in the source countries of immigrants. Supporters of the measure assured doubters that this would not happen. Rep. Emanuel Celler (D-NY), a sponsor of the bill, told his colleagues: Attorney General Robert Kennedy told House immigration subcommittee members, And in a letter to The New York Times, he called for repeal of the national origins system: Senate immigration subcommittee chairman Edward Kennedy (D-MA.) reassured his colleagues and the nation with the following: Sen. Kennedy concluded by saying, In 1965, new Attorney General Nicholas Katzenbach testified: Secretary of State Dean Rusk, when asked about the number of people from India who would want to immigrate, responded: [Note: There were actually 27,859 Indian immigrants over the five years following passage of the bill, three times Secretary Rusk's predicted level. From 1965 through 1993, immigra...

    Legal Immigration to the United States, 1820-1994

    The 1965 changes unwittingly ushered in a new era of mass immigration. The current level of immigration is actually higher than the graph below indicates because illegalimmigration is much higher now than ever before, with a conservative estimate of 300,000 new permanent illegal immigrants each year. The result is an influx of more than 1 million people a year, with no natural end in sight.

    Return Migration

    Another factor in intensifying the impact of immigration is a reduced rate of emigration — that is, more of today's newcomers stay for their whole lives, rather than returning to the old country after a few years. Note that in the 1930s, emigration was higher than 100 percent, meaning that during the Great Depression more people left the country than entered.

    Change in Source Countries of Immigrants

    Despite the protestations of the 1965 act's sponsors, the sources of immigration have changed radically. This is partly due to the fact that there are fewer people in Europe are seeking to leave, now that most countries there are modern and industrialized. The ending of the national origins quotas opened the doors to mass entry of people from Asia and Latin America (regions where people are far more likely to want to emigrate), and the law's emphasis on family reunification ensured that those...

    1882 Chinese Exclusion Act —Barred the entry of any Chinese for 10 years, made permanent in 1904 until it was rescinded in 1943. 1907 Gentlemen's Agreement —Barred the entry of Japanese and Koreans. 1917 Immigration Act —Passed over President Wilson's veto, it established a literacy test and created the "Asiatic Barred Zone," virtually prohibiting immigration from Asia. 1921 Quota Act (Johnson Act) —Set the first immigration quotas in the nation's history, equal to 3 percent of the foreign born of admissible nationality in the 1910 census. There was still no limit on immigration from the Western Hemisphere. 1924 Immigration Act (Johnson-Reid Act) —Set an annual ceiling of 154,227 for the Eastern Hemisphere. Each country had a quota representative of its population in the U.S. as of the 1920 census. 1952 Immigration and Nationality Act (McCarran-Walter Act) —Passed over President Truman's veto, it reaffirmed the basic provisions of the national origins quota system, and the annual ce...

    Many of those involved in the debate 30 years ago are still with us, either in Congress or retired, and their recollections might be worth noting. Among them are: Sen. Edward Kennedy, (202) 224-4543. He ushered the bill through the Senate. Sen. Robert Dole (R-KS), (202) 224-6521. Then a congressman, Sen. Dole voted for the bill. Sens. Strom Thurmond (R-SC) (202) 224-5972, and Robert Byrd (D-WV), 224-3954, voted no. Former President Gerald Ford, then a congressman, voted yes. Former Sen. Albert Gore Sr., the Vice President's father, voted yes. Former Sen. Eugene McCarthy voted for the bill in 1965, but has since criticized the direction of U.S. immigration policy. Others who voted for the 1965 bill: Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-HI); Sen. Claiborne Pell (D-RI); Rep. George Brown Jr. (D-CA); Rep. Sam Gibbons (D-FL); Rep. Patsy Mink (D-HI); Rep. Sidney Yates (D-IL); Rep. Lee Hamilton (D-IN); Rep. Andrew Jacobs Jr. (D-IN); Rep. John Conyers Jr. (D-MI); Rep. John Dingell (D-MI); Rep. Joseph McDa...

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  6. Aug 12, 2019 · The 1965 act has to be understood as a result of the civil rights movement, and the general effort to eliminate race discrimination from U.S. law, says Gabriel “Jack” Chin, immigration law ...

    • Lesley Kennedy
    • 6 min
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