Immigration Act of 1965

Changing the lives of many.

How did it begin?

In 1965, President Lyndon Johnson signed the bill at the foot of the Statue of Liberty on October 3 that changed thew way by which immigrants are accepted to America. This act allows individuals from third world countries to enter the US. Also known as the Hart-Celler Act.

President Lyndon B. Johnson

"This bill that we will sign today is not a revolutionary bill. It does not affect the lives of millions. It will not reshape the structure of our daily lives, or really add importantly to either our wealth or our power. Yet it is still one of the most important acts of this Congress and of this administration [as it] corrects a cruel and enduring wrong in the conduct of the American nation."

Why was the act necessary in 1965?

Existing American Policies were discriminatory. The bill did not end discrimination based on what President John F. Kennedy called "the accident of birth." It discriminates in favor of Mexicans and certain other groups. Yet the largest ethnic shift has occurred within the ranks of Hispanics. Even though Robert Kennedy's promise that, "Immigration from any single country would be limited to 10 percent of the total," Mexico sent 20 percent of last year's immigrants.