Instructor: Gerald Kelly
Immigration Act of 1965 Research Paper
Immigration Act of 1965
The Immigration Act - also called the Hart-Celler Immigration Bill - of 1965 was signed by President Lyndon Johnson. This new Act phased out the Nation Origins quota system. This radically changed patter and scope migration to America. It created migration worldwide versus a majority of the migration from the 3 core counties; United Kingdom, Ireland, and Germany. [ (Three Decades of Mass Immigration, 1995) ] These three made up 70 percent of our counties immigrants before 1965 [ (Three Decades of Mass Immigration, 1995) ]. This new Act, also, affected our country in many different ways. The United States as a whole become more diverse which in the end led to the beginning of the end of discrimination. The Act, as well, affected our country by lowering wages. It is also believed to have stimulated the internal migration of previously Native Americans from older central cities in the Northeast to newer suburban areas as well as to newer, faster-growing cities in the South, and the Sunbelt regions.
This new Act radically changed the migration to America by eliminating the Nation Origins quota system of 1921 (Johnson, 2002). The new act increased the number of people allowed into the country. It increased from 150,000 to 290,000 immigrants in the Eastern and Western Hemisphere. 170,000 immigrants were allowed in from the Eastern Hemisphere; with an underlined law of 20,000 per country (Immigration Act of 1965). In the Western Hemisphere 120,000 immigrants were allowed in with per-country restriction (Love-Andrews, 2003). This was the first time, in our countries history, that there was a numerical restriction on the Western Hemisphere. Before all this was put in place in 1965 70% of our countries immigrants were from 3 countries; the United Kingdom, Ireland, and Germany (Three Decades of Mass Immigration, 1995). In other countries worldwide there were extremely long waiting lists to get into America. America gave out 5,666 visas annually to Italy. At that time they had a waiting list of 249.583 Italians waiting to be accepted into America. Greece was only allowed 308 visas annually. The new Act of 1965 stopped all of this; it allowed an equal number of immigrants from every country depending on the Hemisphere (Three Decades of Mass Immigration, 1995).
The Hart-Celler Immigration Bill also radically changed migration to America by letting immigrants into the country without affecting the visa quota based on the Hemisphere of their home country. One of the ways that this new Act allowed non-quota admission, immigrants not covered by numerical restrictions, immigrants into the country was family unification. If ones family, or family member, was in America they were allowed a visa into the country and it didn’t affect the numerical restrictions for their Hemisphere. This was one of the biggest causes of the great migration to America. Now a family could send one person over to America under the numerical restriction, and once he or she got over the rest would follow. But when they followed they didn’t affect the number of immigrants still allowed to come over. The countries that took advantage of this the most were Asia and Latin America. Before, under the old act, they rarely would send their sons or daughters over to America. Now instead of just sending their children they would all come over as a family. The percentage of the Asian population in America before the act was a little under 1%, now it’s roughly 3% (Johnson, 2002). Another way for immigrants to get into the country outside of the numerical restrictions was to be a skilled or unskilled worker in an area of work we were short handed. We were also allowing scientists and skilled artists into the country without numerical restriction. If an immigrant was a refugee from a Communist country or the Middle East we would also allow them into the country...
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