By Angela Wills
October 2, 1965, marks the date that President Lyndon B. Johnson signed what is now known as a revolutionary law. This law put a halt to immigration quotas that were based on national origin and permanently changed the image of the United States.
It was the Immigration and National Act Amendments of 1965, The Hart-Cellar Act that would repair those heinous immigration quotas. These quotas had emerged to be degrading, embarrassing, and downright shameful.
President Johnson insisted that the Act wasn’t a revolutionary bill and wouldn’t change the structure of everyday life. The decision was one that completely changed Black versus white America into an America of all colors. The result? A nation of multicultural, browner and multiracial people.
It wasn’t until later in the twentieth century did Americans begin to admit or accept that America is truly a nation of immigrants. A rich mixture of citizens speaking various languages and practicing varying beliefs is what exists in America and it’s plainly visible from one corner of the nation to the next.
Prior to becoming a place that accepts and recognizes immigrants as a part of this society, many Germans, Irishmen and others encountered hardships with prejudice. Most of these roadblocks were set in place due to a rising fear that these minorities would take jobs meant for others or push for more equality in democracy.
The change occurred and was forced to be noticed by those immigrants who retreated to the Promised Land and made good of its promise. There were many who were able to become Americans, and help improve America and smother much of the racial tension and prejudice set forth by Americans. The mixture of cultures and races was a great benefit to capitalism, democracy, technology and culture.
For many immigrants, the arrival to America was a bitter-sweet relief. The idea of better opportunities was the sweet breath of fresh air that was deeply needed but the resistance and discouragement put forth by others left a bitter taste in the mouth.
Truth be told, the arrival of immigrants to America was a great opportunity for them but it provided many more benefits to the American people. The culture was nourished and traditions expanded because of the blended cultures. The offerings of immigrants greatly enhanced the economy and creativity of America, which prompted others to tap into their creative juices and contribute as well. President Johnson put forth a plan that would cause a permanent mark on America and because of it, America continues to flourish for a variety of blended sources.