Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965

Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965
Great Seal of the United States
Long titleAn Act to amend the Immigration and Nationality Act
Acronyms (colloquial)INA of 1965
NicknamesHart–Celler
Enacted bythe 89th United States Congress
EffectiveDecember 1, 1965
July 1, 1968
Citations
Public lawPub.L. 89–236
Statutes at Large79 Stat. 911
Codification
Acts amendedImmigration and Nationality Act of 1952
Titles amended8 U.S.C.: Aliens and Nationality
U.S.C. sections amended8 U.S.C. ch. 12 (§§ 1101, 1151–1157, 1181–1182, 1201, 1254–1255, 1259, 1322, 1351)
Legislative history
  • Introduced in the House of Representatives as H.R. 2580 by Emanuel Celler (D-NY)
  • Committee consideration by Judiciary
  • Passed the House on August 25, 1965 (318–95)
  • Passed the Senate on September 22, 1965 (76–18) with amendment
  • House agreed to Senate amendment on September 30, 1965 (320–70)
  • Signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson on October 3, 1965

The Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965, also known as the Hart–Celler Act and more recently as the 1965 Immigration Act, is a federal law passed by the 89th United States Congress and signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson.[1] The law abolished the National Origins Formula, which had been the basis of U.S. immigration policy since the 1920s.[2] The act removed de facto discrimination against Southern and Eastern Europeans, Asians, as well as other non-Western and Northern European ethnic groups from American immigration policy.

The National Origins Formula had been established in the 1920s to preserve American homogeneity by promoting immigration from Western and Northern Europe.[2][3] During the 1960s, at the height of the Civil Rights Movement, this approach increasingly came under attack for being racially discriminatory. With the support of the Johnson administration, Senator Philip Hart and Congressman Emanuel Celler introduced a bill to repeal the formula.[4] The bill received wide support from both northern Democratic and Republican members of Congress, but strong opposition mostly from Southern Democrats, the latter mostly voting Nay or Not Voting.[5][6] President Johnson signed the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 into law on October 3, 1965.[1] In opening entry to the U.S. to immigrants other than Northwestern European and Germanic groups, the Act significantly altered immigration demographics in the U.S.[7]

The Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 created a seven-category preference system that gives priority to relatives and children of U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents, professionals and other individuals with specialized skills, and refugees.[8] The act maintained per-country and total immigration limits, but included a provision exempting immediate relatives of U.S. citizens from numerical restrictions.[9] The act also set a numerical limit on immigration from the Western Hemisphere for the first time in U.S. history.[9] Though proponents of the bill had argued that it would not have a significant effect on the total level of immigration or the demographic mix of the U.S, the act greatly increased the total number of immigrants as well as the share of immigrants from Asia and Africa.

  1. ^ a b Cite error: The named reference Johnson 1965 was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  2. ^ a b Greenwood, M. J., & Ward, Z. (2015). Immigration quotas, World War I, and emigrant flows from the United States in the early 20th century. Explorations in Economic History, 55, 76–96. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.eeh.2014.05.001
  3. ^ Cite error: The named reference :9 was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  4. ^ Tichenor, D. (2016). The historical presidency: Lyndon Johnson’s ambivalent reform: The Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965. Presidential Studies Quarterly, 46(3), 691–705. https://doi.org/10.1111/psq.12300
  5. ^ Govtrack. To pass H.R. 2580, Immigration and Nationality Act amendments. Retrieved from https://www.govtrack.us/congress/votes/89-1965/s232
  6. ^ Govtrack. To agree to the conference report on H.R. 2580, the Immigration and Nationality Act amendments. Retrieved from https://www.govtrack.us/congress/votes/89-1965/h177
  7. ^ Ludden, Jennifer. "1965 immigration law changed face of America". NPR.org. NPR. Retrieved May 8, 2016.
  8. ^ Vecchio, Diane C. (2013). "U.S. Immigration Laws and Policies, 1870–1980". In Barkan, Elliott Robert (ed.). Immigrants in American History: Arrival, Adaptation, and Integration, Volume 4. Santa Barbara, Calif.: ABC-CLIO. pp. 1498–9. ISBN 978-1-59884-219-7.
  9. ^ a b Cite error: The named reference :6 was invoked but never defined (see the help page).

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