The Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 (Hart-Celler Act, INS, Act of 1965, Pub.L. 89–236) abolished the National Origins Formula that had been in place in the United States since the Emergency Quota Act about the 1920s.
The Act abolished the national origins quota system that was American immigration policy since the 1920s, replacing it with a preference system that focused on immigrants’ skills and family relationships with citizens or U.S. residents. Numerical restrictions on visas were set at 170,000 per year, with a per-country-of-origin quota, not including immediate relatives of U.S. citizens, nor “special immigrants” (including those born in “independent” nations in the Western Hemisphere, former citizens, ministers, and employees of the U.S. government abroad).
The 1965 act marked a radical break from the immigration policies of the past. The law as it stood then excluded Latin Americans, Asians and Africans and preferred northern and western Europeans over southern and eastern ones.
The 1965 act may have tried to curb or have a natural effect on those from Latin America; however, as we shall see it really does not. Furthermore, suffice it to say that after America bombs the bullsquat out of your nation then some of the most stringent refugee and asylum laws go into effect. Therefore, insofar as America had been at war with Vietnam for over ten years, collectively with “the Killing Fields” of Cambodia, and other travesties the multitude of Asian refugees that were granted asylum status was simply phenomenal.
In order to convince the American populace – the majority of whom were opposed to the act – of the legislation’s merits, its proponents assured that passage would not influence America’s culture significantly. President Johnson called the bill “not a revolutionary bill. It does not affect the lives of millions“
Moreover we find the entire situation reckless and full of dishonor. In total, 74% of Democrats and 85% of Republicans voted for passage of this bill. Most of the no votes were from the American South, which was then still strongly Democratic. On October 3, 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the legislation into law, saying “This [old] system violates the basic principle of American democracy, the principle that values and rewards each man on the basis of his merit as a man. It has been un-American in the highest sense, because it has been untrue to the faith that brought thousands to these shores even before we were a country.” (Everyone should read the link titled “American South” for a bit of a real history lesson.)
Immigration changed America’s demographics, opening the doors to immigrants from Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. The Latin American population also dramatically increased since 1965, though this was more due to the various unexpected results of this act rather than due to this act itself.
By the 1990s, America’s population growth was more than one-third driven by legal immigration and substantially augmented by illegal immigration, primarily from Latin America and other parts of the developing world. Before passage of the Act, immigration accounted for only ten percent of population increase in the U.S. Ethnic and racial minorities, as defined by the US Census Bureau, rose from 25 percent of the US population during the year 1990 to 30 percent in the year 2000 and to 36.6 percent as measured by the results from the 2010 census. Similarly, during the same time period the non-Hispanic white population in the United States decreased from 75 percent of the overall US population in 1990 to 70 percent in 2000 and finally to 63.4 percent during the year 2011.
The 1980 Refugee Act established policies for refugees, redefining “refugee” according to United Nations norms. A target for refugees was set at 50,000 and the worldwide ceiling for immigrants was reduced to 270,000 annually.
The United States Refugee Act of 1980 (Public Law 96-212) was an amendment to the earlier Immigration and Nationality Act and the Migration and Refugee Assistance Act, and was created to provide a permanent and systematic procedure for the admission to the United States of refugees of special humanitarian concern to the U.S., and to provide comprehensive and uniform provisions for the effective resettlement and absorption of those refugees who are admitted.
In 1986 the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) was passed, creating for the first time penalties for employers who knowingly hired illegal immigrants. These penalties are very seldom enforced and forged documents are rampant leading to widespread undocumented immigrant employment. This is commonly referred to as the “First Amnesty Bill.”
This expose covers the time period of 1950 starting from the the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 (Hart-Celler Act, INS, Act of 1965) which as politics would have it, the 1965 act was simply codifying the original act from the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952. Therefore, from the years from 1950 until 1968 little, if anything meaningful was done regarding “Reforming” our Immigration and Naturalization Service.