The Immigration Reform Act of 1965

Keywords: Civil Rights, legal discrimination

A meme that floated by once demanded, “Describe your age without using numbers.” The answer I came up with was, “I’m segregation old.” That is, segregation was still legal when I was a kid. This was outlawed by the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The younger generations are chomping at the bit to see the promise of that act fully realized. I am to. But when I think about the fact that in my parent’s generation (many of whom are still alive) racism was normal, it is amazing how far we’ve come in one generation. I just hope that the younger generations understand that, unfortunately, this is not a fight won overnight.

Until recently, I was unaware of the Immigration Reform Act of 1965 which was also a major step away from racism in the U.S. This act effectively eliminated the National Origins Formula, which had been established in the 1920s to preserve American homogeneity by promoting immigration from Northwestern Europe. In other words, before 1965 it was extremely difficult for anybody but white Europeans to immigrate and obtain citizenship. This act radically changed the nature of immigration by allowing people from all around the world to come to the U.S. When you consider this was only 55 years ago, the current diversity is quite amazing. But this also partly explains why there is still such a racial backlash in this country. U.S. citizens are still getting used to having non-white, non-Christian people around.

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