Immigration&Nationality Act of 1965


What was the Immigration & Nationality Act of 1965?

The Hart-Cellar Act abolished the national origins quota system that had structured American immigration policy since the 1920s, replacing it with a preference system that focused on immigrants' skills and family relationships with citizens or residents of the U.S. Numerical restrictions on visas were set at 170,000 per year, not including immediate relatives of U.S. citizens, nor "special immigrants" (including those born in "independent" nations in the Western hemisphere; former citizens; ministers; employees of the U.S. government abroad).

Why support?

  • Abolished the national origins quota system, eliminating national origin, race, or ancestry as a basis for immigration to the United States.
  • Established a preference system for relatives of U.S. citizens and permanent residents, and for persons with special occupational skills, abilities, or training
  • Established two categories of immigrants not subject to numerical restrictions: immediate relatives of U.S. citizens and special immigrants
  • Maintained the quota restriction, expanding limits to world coverage by limiting Eastern Hemisphere immigration and placing a ceiling on Western Hemisphere immigration for the first time. However, neither the preference categories nor the 20,000 per-country limit were applied to the Western Hemisphere.
  • Introduced a prerequisite for the issuance of a visa that an alien worker will not replace a worker in the United States nor adversely affect the wages and working conditions of similarly employed individuals in the U.S.