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The Immigration Act of 1965: The Second Foundation of U.S. Racial/Ethnic Politics Political Science 61 / Chicano/Latino Studies 64 October 4, 2007.

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Presentation on theme: "The Immigration Act of 1965: The Second Foundation of U.S. Racial/Ethnic Politics Political Science 61 / Chicano/Latino Studies 64 October 4, 2007."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Immigration Act of 1965: The Second Foundation of U.S. Racial/Ethnic Politics Political Science 61 / Chicano/Latino Studies 64 October 4, 2007

2 Three Pillars of Contemporary Ethnic Politics Foundations - The Voting Rights Act of The Immigration and Naturalization Act of 1965 (today) - Pan-ethnicity (Tuesday)

3 Immigration Before 1965 “Open borders” (1492 – 1875) Nature provided many limits Colonies/states encouraged some and discouraged other potential migrants Steadily growing restrictions ( ) Tension between economic interests and cultural change Government used this period to create bureaucracy to implement restriction Immigration restriction reaches its peak ( ) National Origin Quota Laws (1921 and 1924)

4 Restrictions for Some Mean Opportunities for Others National Origin Quotas in practice Limited European immigration Labor demand continues Consequence New demand for migration from the Americas Rapid expansion of migration from Mexico and the Caribbean Industries (particularly agriculture) become dependent on Latino labor U.S. government tries to regularize the flow of Mexican/Latino migrants: The Bracero Program

5 Mexican Immigration to Permanent Residence,

6 1940s/1950s – Moving Away from Quotas Changing U.S. economy Demand for migrants in many industries (not just agriculture) Domestic migration Changing U.S. strategic role Asylum—political and humanitarian Need for skilled technical labor Civil Rights and National-Origins Restrictions Link between 65 Immigration Act and the VRA

7 The 1965 Immigration Act Guiding objectives 1. Family reunification 2. Meeting national labor needs 3. Less national bias Creates immigration opportunities for potential migrants who have immediate relatives in United States Creates immigration opportunities for Latinos and Asian Americans Tells some potential migrants that they are permanently ineligible to migrate

8 How Did it Pass? Completely different story from VRA Few Senators cared Impact assumed to be minimal Initial impact was minimal Annual immigration in the 1960s approximately 330,000 Nations sending most immigrants, 1960s— Mexico, Canada, Italy, United Kingdom

9 Long-term Impact 1980s and 1990s Increase in overall migration—900,000+ annually 80 percent of immigrants Asian/Latin American Family-based migration guarantees continued flow from these areas Spurs economic and cultural change in U.S. Adds incentives to/resources for unauthorized migration Economic sectors dependent on unauthorized labor Mixed status families

10 Legal Immigration by Decade

11 Sources of Immigrants to Permanent Residence, 2006

12 Region of Birth, Unauthorized Immigrants, 2006

13 Native Responses and a New Immigrant/Ethnic Politics 1970s-1980s—fear of undocumented migrants 1990s Proposition 187—States and costs Social welfare—changing the social contract Immigration reform—raising the bar Pat Buchanan and the return of classic nativism 2000 and beyond Compassionate conservatism—a new elite tolerance? Post 9/11—challenging the civil liberties of immigrants The “Minutemen” and direct confrontation

14 Unauthorized Migration by State, 2000 and 2005 Source: Office of Immigration Statistics, 2006

15 Immigration and Minority Politics Numbers Engine of Latino and Asian American growth Immigrants spur representation, whether they naturalize or not Expectations for Latino and Asian American influence Shifting policy focus Undermining civil rights agenda Building an “incorporation” agenda Immigrant organizing and the foundations of a new social movement (a topic for later in the class)

16 In Sum 1965 Immigration Act Immigration reduced racial exclusion Engine for 1980s/1990s growth in Asian and Latino populations Creates potential divide with African Americans Creates large group who can only migrate in unauthorized status Society divided over how to respond to size of migration and unauthorized migration New nativism Exclusion creates focus for immigrant/ethnic mobilization

17 Questions for Next Time How do immigrants come to understand who they are in U.S. society? Why do the names we use matter?


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