ICYMI: The Racial Roots of the U.S.’s Current Immigration Framework

In 1965, Lyndon Johnson signed into law a new immigration framework that eliminated prior racist “national origin” quotas that had been in place since 1924.   The new law emphasized immigration by immediate family members of U.S. citizens and permanent residents.

This New York Times article highlights how the 1965 law, while dismantling a racist system, only achieved passage with the support of immigrant restrictionists who wanted to keep the U.S. white. They believed that the focus on family would increase immigration from western Europe and boost the nation’s racial (white) homogeneity, even as the racist national origin quotas in the immigration laws were dismantled in the civil rights era.

The information in this article is not new, but for those who haven’t done a deep dive into the history of U.S. immigration laws and their effects, it is a succinct introduction to a law that in fact led to a more diverse United States.

The current administration is now making every effort to dismantle the 1965  immigration framework unilaterally without Congressional action.   For examples, read about the recent Presidential Proclamation banning immigrants that disproportionately impacts immediate family and diversity lottery immigrants, or the recent public charge rule’s impact on immediate family immigration, or the steep reduction in refugee admissions, or about proposed regulations that would virtually eliminate the U.S. asylum system.  Immigrants from Latin America, Africa,  and Asia dominate these four immigration avenues, according to government data, and the racial impact of the administration’s moves is clear.