The Immigration and Naturalization Act of 1965

In October of 1965, amendments to the 1952 Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) repealed the national origins quota system. Under the old system, a foreign country was allowed 2 percent of its total population to immigrate to the United States. In lieu of these considerations of nationality and ethnicity, the 1965 amendments established a system based on reunification of families and needed skills. The amendments represent one of the most important revisions of immigration policy in the United States since the First Quota Act of 1921.

The 1965 Act made the annual maximum of Eastern Hemisphere immigrants 170,000, and no more than 20,000 per country. Individual visas were granted with priority given to family reunification, attracting needed skills to the United States, and refugees. Since 1965, sources of immigration to the United States has shifted from Europe to Latin America and Asia.

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