Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965

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The Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 or Hart-Celler Act was an act passed by the United States Congress which replaced the McCarran-Walter Act as part of the Great Society. Named after its sponsors Sen. Philip Hart (D–MI) and Emanuel Celler (D–NY), it abolished the National Origins Formula and replaced the United States' quota cap of 120,000 to 170,000. The immigration law also placed a "occupational immigration" clause which encouraged the immigration of needed professionals into the United States. As a result of the reduction in quota restriction the immigration of Filipino professionals increased, mostly professionals in the media field.[1]

The Immigration Act of 1965 also allowed immediate family member of immigrants to immigrate without effect on quanta numbers and thus allowed large families to immigrate freely. This resulted in making the Filipino community the fastest growing Asian community in the U.S.[1]

President Lyndon Johnson was a strong advocate of the act and managed to persuade Congress to pass it.[2]

William F. Buckley Jr. criticized it, saying in 2004 that, "Beginning in 1965, we simply surrendered on the subject of Western Hemisphere immigration."[3] Many other conservatives have criticized it as well, noting that the Hart-Celler Act marked the beginning of rising immigration levels to the United States, demographically helping the Democrats. Thus, the immigration crisis of today can be traced back to this very one piece of legislation.

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