Authored by Cheryl Fruchthandler
President Kennedy is surrounded by delegates of the Third Symposium of the American Committee on Italian Migration at a colonnade near the Rose Garden June 11, 1963, after announcing plans on improved immigration laws.
In June of 1963, a lifetime’s work of President John F. Kennedy finally came to fulfillment, as a new proposal for immigration would be presented in front of Congress. Before becoming president, Kennedy had persevered as a Massachusetts State Senator to widen the quota of immigrants allowed into the United States by replacing the old quota granting entry into America. Among Kennedy’s seven proposals introduced in 1959 to liberalize immigration was a unique proposal to make it easier for future immigrants to assimilate into the United States.1 Kennedy was an advocate for change in the restrictive immigrating policy of our nation. He sharply criticized the system and called upon Congress to allow additional immigrants in each year without regard to their race or nationality.1 Continue reading
Authored by Jannette Sheffield
First page of material presented at the American Committee on Italian Migration’s Third National Symposium
A defining principle of American democracy is the inherent equality of all mankind. America’s history of immigration legislation illustrates, however, that advocates of equality must often struggle to cause this principle to be reflected in law. This document, which contains excerpts from material presented at the American Committee on Italian Migration’s (ACIM) Third National Symposium on Italian Immigration and American National Interest, shows that legislation antithetical to the values of democracy can be reformed through activism. The document highlights ACIM’s role in the trajectory from the McCarran-Walter Act of 1952, which resulted in large-scale national and racial discrimination, to the race-neutral reforms of the Hart-Cellar Act of 1965. It exhibits ACIM’s advocacy for Italian immigrants in the U.S. political system, its instrumental role in influencing legislative reform and its use of Christian principles to inspire political participation. Continue reading