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Analysis Of Roger Daniels Argument On The 1965 Immigration Act

1441 words - 6 pages

In 1965, the 89th Congress got rid of the quota system on immigration (only a certain amount of immigrants can come in from specific countries) and replaced it with a system that was more equitable. According to Roger Daniels, Congress successfully replaced the former quota system because it was seen as very discriminatory toward Asians and Eastern Europeans especially. The Immigration Law was not intended to have major consequences, according to Daniels, but it ended up causing a high influx of South American and Asian immigration over the following decades. Although Daniels presents a good argument and is correct in that Congress succeeded in their initial plans, he does not give many ...view middle of the document...

Even now with the Immigration Act of 1965, Eastern Europeans are not entirely included because they probably don’t have family in the US to ‘invite’ them over.
The new legislation led to increased immigration from Asia and the Americas that Congress (allegedly) did not expect. Of course these were not the only immigrants coming over, but they were the group that was increasing the fastest. While some new people were able to immigrate to the US, there was a small reason that not everyone from Europe had opportunity to immigrate. The new policy was that “family members of recent immigrants” (Daniels 3), and those of exceptional ability would be able to immigrate and naturalize as citizens with no numeric limits to apply to them. Since American law had only permitted ‘white persons’ and people of ‘African descent’ previously, and then had allowed Chinese and South American peoples shortly before the Immigration Act of 1965, there were not many recent immigrants from other places. Because of this, other Eastern Europeans were not immediately connected to the US by family, and could not immigrate as easily to the US even after the 1965 law was passed. Congress seemed to have achieved its goals in essence; although they did substitute the quota system for numerical hemispheric caps, they added expanded categories which allowed for “family members [to] enter without numerical limits” (Daniels 3). So, overall, the 89th Congress did not achieve total non-discrimination, but it seems that it did achieve it’s original goal, which was to abolish the quota system. The only consequence Daniels mentioned in his argument was that the immigration rate increased, but he gives little further evidence.
The primary sources given prove that Daniels argument was correct in his stance on Congress’s intent for the law. He says they want to get rid of the quota system, and that is exactly what they did. For example, President Johnson states that: “Today, with my signature, [the quota] system is abolished...We can now believe that it will never again shadow the gate to the American Nation with the twin barriers of prejudice…”(Johnson 5). According to these remarks from the President at the signing of the Immigration Bill in 1965, it was created to abolish an outdated system and end discrimination against certain immigrants. According to the summary of the Immigration Act of 1965, the new law was meant to “abolish the national origins quota system”(13).
Daniels does not seem to be correct in his stance on the effects of the legislation. For example, he states that “No one in 1965 could have envisioned [the] result” (Daniels 3) referring to the chain migration that occurred after the law was passed, but selected quotes from debates on the bill show that some people did guess immigration would dramatically increase: “...the number of immigrants next year will increase threefold and in subsequent years will increase even more…”(Miller 7). Though not everyone outwardly...

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