President Kennedy Press Conference on the Immigration and Nationality Act

President Kennedy Press Conference on the Immigration and Nationality Act

Authored by: Ariana Kaleta

President Kennedy Press Conference on the Immigration and Nationality Act June 11, 1963,                     Abby Rowe/White House
“Immigration policy should be generous; it should be fair; it should be flexible. With such a policy we  can turn to the world, and to our own past, with clean hands and a clear conscience.”
John F Kennedy, A Nation of Immigrants

Here we see a relaxed President Kennedy, laughing during a break at a press conference but what he was discussing were serious matters for the future face of America.  The President was compelled to write “A Nation of Immigrants” after repeatedly hearing the stories of immigrant’s rights groups, such as at this meeting with the American Committee on Italian Migration.

When Kennedy first came into office, Henry Cabot Lodge’s Immigration Act of 1924 had been diligently enforced under the firm hand of the Immigration Restriction League (a prominent lobbying group founded in 1884). [1]  For four decades, the Immigration Act of 1924 used quotas to prohibit all ‘non-nativist’ nationalities, in particular Jewish, Irish and Italians fleeing Europe. However, it also had punitive effects on the almost historically unrecognized Arabic and Asian immigrants.[2]  As the threat of communism and post war depression flooded across Europe and Asia, waves of immigrants risked their lives to journey to America, only to be turned away at Ellis Island, due to these racist and religious discriminatory laws. Continue reading

American Committee on Italian Migration: Proceedings of the Third National Symposium

Authored by Jannette Sheffield

First page of material presented at the American Committee on Italian Migration's Third National Symposium

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

INS Presentation on Data Management and The Nonimmigrant Information System

Authored by Chris Lund

Single page that reads, from top to bottom: "NIIS, The Nonimmigrant Information System, Immigration and Nationalization Service". Also contains the seal of the Department of Justice

Cover Page of INS Presentation on The Nonimmigrant Information System

One of the most effective weapons for providing a voice to the underrepresented is accurate information, and a general prerequisite to providing accurate information is the ability to obtain and manage accurate data. This latter goal of accurate data management constitutes the primary purpose of the Nonimmigrant Information System (“NIIS”). The attached presentation (the “NIIS Presentation”), taken from the Arthur P. Endres Collection at the Center For Migration Studies in New York City, appears to have been created some time around 1986 and presents a 15-page plan for improving on existing NIIS methods for collecting and managing data on nonimmigrants (i.e., foreign born individuals within the United States who are neither citizens nor permanent residents of the United States). Continue reading