What Was the 1965 Hart-Cellar Immigration Act?

General Reference (not clearly pro or con)
Elizabeth Kolsky, PhD, Assistant Professor of History at Pratt Institute, in a Spring 1998 University of Texas' SAGAR: South Asian Graduate Research Journal article entitled "Less Successful Than the Next: South Asian Taxi Drivers in New York City," stated:

"In 1965, the United States passed the landmark Hart-Celler Act, abolishing nation-of-origin restrictions. Effective June 30, 1968, immigration and naturalization exclusion on the basis of race, sex, or nationality was prohibited. Under the Hart-Celler Act, new immigration criteria was based on kinship ties, refugee status, and 'needed skills.' Between 1820 and 1960, 34.5 million Europeans immigrated to the U.S., while only one million Asians—mostly Chinese and Japanese—immigrated. An unintended, unanticipated, and highly evident effect of Hart-Celler was the burgeoning of Asian immigration.

Between 1870-1965, a total of 16,013 Indians immigrated to the United States. In the first decade following the passage of the 1965 Hart-Celler Act, 96,735 Indians immigrated. For the most part, these new Indian immigrants entered under the needed skills preference of the 1965 law."

Spring 1998 - Elizabeth Kolsky, PhD 

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), in a document entitled "Legislation from 1961-1980, Immigration and Nationality Act Amendments of October 3, 1965," posted on "Legal Immigration History" website section (accessed Apr. 13, 2007), offered the following summary:

"a. Abolished the national origins quota system (see the Immigration Act of 1924 and the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952), eliminating national origin, race, or ancestry as a basis for immigration to the United States.

b. Established allocation of immigrant visas on a first come, first served basis, subject to a seven-category preference system for relatives of U.S. citizens and permanent resident aliens (for the reunification of families) and for persons with special occupational skills, abilities, or training (needed in the United States).

c. Established two categories of immigrants not subject to numerical restrictions: 1. Immediate relatives (spouses, children, parents) of U.S. citizens, and 2. Special immigrants: certain ministers of religion; certain former employees of the U.S. government abroad; certain persons who lost citizenship (e.g., by marriage or by service in foreign armed forces); and certain foreign medical graduates.

d. Maintained the principle of numerical restriction, expanding limits to world coverage by limiting Eastern Hemisphere immigration to 170,000 and placing a ceiling on Western Hemisphere immigration (120,000) for the first time. However, neither the preference categories nor the 20,000 per-country limit were applied to the Western Hemisphere.

e. Introduced a prerequisite for the issuance of a visa of an affirmative finding by the Secretary of Labor that an alien seeking to enter as a worker will not replace a worker in the United States nor adversely affect the wages and working conditions of similarly employed individuals in the United States."

Apr. 13, 2007 - US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) 

C. N. Le, PhD, Director of the Asian American Studies Program at the University of Massachusetts, in an Apr. 12, 2007 Asian-Nation.org article entitled "The 1965 Immigration Act," offered the following:

"The Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 represents a significant watershed moment in Asian American history. Reversing decades of systematic exclusion and restrictive immigration policies, the Act resulted in unprecedented numbers of immigrants from Asia, Mexico, Latin America, and other non-western nations entering the U.S. In the process, these new arrivals, particular from Asia, have transformed the demographic, economic, and cultural characteristics of many urban areas, the larger Asian American community, and mainstream American society in general.

Prior to the mid-1960s, immigration into the U.S. was regulated by the provisions of the National Origins system. Implemented in 1924 as the U.S.'s first comprehensive set of immigration regulations, the National Origins system effectively limited immigration from Asia to token levels. These restrictions on Asian immigration were consistent with the overall political and cultural environment of the time that tolerated and even promoted nativism and xenophobia."

Apr. 12, 2007 - C. N. Le, PhD