United States Immigration Policy: A Decades-Old Conundrum

United States Immigration Policy: A Decades-Old Conundrum

Authored by Casey L. Stiller

This scanned excerpt, written by Charles B. Keely and included in Mary M. Kritz’s U.S. Immigration and Refugee Policy, describes the challenges faced in changing United States immigration policy. Keely gives a brief overview of the current immigration climate within the United States in the early 1980’s.

There have been three major migration periods in the United States in the last century: a largely laissez faire outlook in the 1930s; the Bracero Program, in effect during and after World War II; and, following the elimination of the Bracero Program, passage of major immigration laws in 1965 (Rosenblum and Brick 2011, 1). The Bracero Program was a formal agreement signed between the United States and Mexico in 1942, establishing “a migrant guest worker program,” which had favorable conditions for Mexican immigrants (Rosenblum and Brick 2011, 4). The Bracero Program experienced significant pushback, and upon its expiration in 1964, was followed instead by the Immigration and Nationality Act in 1965, which established per-country caps and a tiered preference system for rationing visas within a country (Rosenblum and Brick 2011, 5). 

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The Historical Context of the Explanation of Section 10 of H.R. 14831

Authored by Betty Smith

The Explanation of Section 10 of H.R. 14831 is part of the CMS.105, Arthur P. (“Skip”) Endres Papers, 1960-1980s collection at the Center for Migration Studies of New York (CMS-NY)

President Lyndon B. Johnson authorized the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) on October 3, 1965, during the mid-Cold War period (Kennedy 2019). The INA changed America’s formerly biased policy to reunite immigrant families as well as encourage skilled workers from other countries to establish a new life in the United States (History 2019). As a result, immigration to the United States soared throughout the 1960s and 1970s as people sought to start a new life free from “poverty or the hardships of communist regimes in Cuba, Eastern Europe, and elsewhere” (History 2019, under “Immediate Impact”). The number of immigrants from Asian countries to the United States was considerably high on account that they were now allowed to migrate to the United States; moreover, many of these immigrants sought to relocate to the United States from “war-torn Southeast Asia” (History 2019, under “Immediate Impact”).

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Immigration and the Catholic Church

Authored by Megan Maye

Caulfield, Brian. 1996. “A Missionary Again.” The Staten Island Advance, August 17, 1996.

Pictured above is Brian Caulfield’s article, “A Missionary Again,” which discusses Silvano Tomasi’s episcopal ordination.


Cultural differences and inadequate understandings between immigrants and the United States has been an issue in the country for many years. The number of immigrants who come to the United States has increased annually (Segal and Mayadas 2005, 564), most likely causing growing concern between both parties.


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L’Archivio del Commissariato Generale dell’Emigrazione (Part II)

Authored by Michael Tomaselli

Figure 1 “Archive of the General Commission of Immigration (Part 2) and the General Directorate of Foreign Italians” – Finding Aid, Center of Migration Studies of New York, CMS.034

The Commissariato Generale dell’Emigratione (General Commission of Immigration) was founded on the 10th of January 1901(“Storiadigitale Zanichelli Percorso Site,” n.d.). The goal, in conjunction with the Direzione Generale degli Italiani all’Estero (General Directorate of Foreign Italians was to regulate the transmission of ideas into the country that might destabilize the regime and to protect citizens abroad. With Italian Unification ending in 1870, the Italian regime had to use every possible way to control its citizens in this nebulous time. Italy saw the world changing. Connections were being made faster than neurons firing. However, Italy saw the misfires as well. Karl Marx and Fredrich Engels wrote The Communist Manifesto in 1884, ending with the line, “Workers of the World, Unite,” while witnessing the wildfire of social revolutions and reforms take shape across Europe(Marx, Engels, and Toews 1999, 96). Regimes fell, splintered, and reformed; and Italy was determined not to succumb. In order to do this, the government tried to barricade against the rising tide of the social agenda. Continue reading

The Rise in Illegal Immigration in the 1960s

Authored by Elizabeth Paul

This is a hidden compartment meant to smuggle in illegal aliens from Mexico, taken in 1968.

In 1965, the Immigration and Nationality Act, also known as the Hart-Celler Act, was signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson (Ball et al 2017). This act ended the quota system started in the 1920s that had been put in place that gave preference to those of European origin, and instead created a system that was meant to reunite immigrant families and attract skilled workers (History.com 2010). This original quota system, however, did not include Mexico (The John W. Kluge Center at the Library of Congress 2015). Because of this, temporary workers from Mexico were often hired to work on farms as part of the Bracero Program (Ball et al 2017). However, even after the end of this program as well as the introduction of the 1965 Immigration and Nationality Act, former workers that were part of the Bracero Program would still cross over the border to work these farm jobs.

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Does the Melting Pot Still Meld in 2018?

Authored by Ocaria DiMango

A copy of the cover of Forbes Magazine, dated October 30, 1978 displaying the Statue of Liberty. This is currently part of the Endres Collection for the Center for Migration Studies.

This artifact is a copy of the October 30, 1978 issue of Forbes magazine, which portrays the Statue of Liberty in all her glory, a symbol of American’s immigrant heritage. Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door! (Moreno 2004). However, this sentiment towards new immigrants has changed throughout the life of America. I believe that views towards immigration, over time, have been based on what America was going through in history. It’s important for us to look back on an article like this and see how far we’ve come – so in this case, I wonder, how far have we come since 1978? Continue reading

“The United States and the World”: The Select Commission on Immigration and Refugee Policy

Authored by Catherine Findorak

“Illegal Migration Examined at San Antonio Hearing.” Select Commission on Immigration and Refugee Policy Newsletter No. 3 (January 1980)

In August of 1981, joint committees of the U.S. house and senate released the final report of the Select Commission on Immigration and Refugee Policy (SCIRP), entitled U.S. Immigration Policy and the National Interest (1981). Based on years of work, the final report of the commission recommended “closing the back door to undocumented/illegal migration, opening the front door a little more to accommodate legal migration in the interests of this country” (U.S. Congress 1981, 3) and stressed the need to work with other countries to improve the conditions that cause migration and exile (Fragomen 1981).

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Ed Koch, Immigration, and S. 461

Authored by Nicolás Cabrera

Handwritten memo and copy of S. 461

A memo sent to Arthur P. “Skip” Endres by Ed Koch.

Senate Bill 461 of the 94th Congress was introduced January 28, 1975, by Sen. Harrison A. Williams, Jr. [D-NJ] to grant “…a child adopted by a single United States citizen the same immigrant status as a child adopted by a United States citizen and his spouse pursuant to the Immigration and Nationality Act” (Library of Congress 1975).
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Endres Collection – Metro tells firm to hire 2 who don’t speak Spanish

Authored by Diane Darcy

Article from the Miami Herald dated October 26, 1984.

 

This article is a cultural artifact housed within the Arthur P. “Skip” Endres Collection owned by The Center for Migration Studies of New York (CMS). Arthur Endres was an influential figure on immigration when he served as counsel for the House Judicatory Committee, Subcommittee on Immigration, Refugees, and International Law from 1973-1989. The collection consists of documents that Endres created or used during his tenure. It provides rare primary sources of how migration and refugee law was made and how that process might be improved for future generations of immigrants (CMS 2018).   Continue reading