Immigration and Nationality Act (Great Events from History: North American Series)
Article abstract: New legislation significantly alters the composition of immigrants entering the United States by breaking previous policies of restricting non-European admissions.
Summary of Event
The Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 was a major event in U.S. immigration history because it allowed non-Europeans to enter the United States on an equitable basis with Europeans. Before the 1965 legislation, U.S. immigration policies favored northern and western Europeans. Starting with the colonial period, the people entering North America came predominantly from western and northern Europe, and were dominated by the British and Germans. Restrictions were not imposed until the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 started a process of legislating discriminatory restrictions against certain nationalities. The various laws were brought together in the Immigration Act of 1917, which initiated the Asiatic Barred Zone and the literacy test—both features designed to prohibit Asians and persons from southern and eastern Europe from immigrating.
After World War II, the Immigration and Nationality (McCarran-Walter) Act of 1952 codified the legislation that had developed haphazardly over the past century. Although it liberalized some areas, it was discriminatory in that quotas were allotted according to national origins. This resulted in western and northern European nations receiving no less than 85 percent of the...
(The entire section is 1474 words.)
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