The First Revolution in Immigration


On the heels of Pope Francis' address to Congress, Ted Widmer of The Boston Globe chronicles the arduous journey behind a law that invariably affects our lives today.

This article, written by Ted Widmer, appears on The Boston Globe.

A little-known law that radically changed America

ONE OF THE OLDEST impulses in American history is the desire to start anew — to find a better place to work, to live, to raise a family. It is the basic premise of nearly all that has happened here since the Mayflower dropped anchor at Provincetown, before deciding that Plymouth was slightly better and moving one more time.

Yet freedom here isn’t universal. As Donald Trump made clear over the summer, Mexican immigrants without the proper paperwork are not all that welcome. Trump in no way damaged his standing by saying so — quite the opposite. Indeed, immigration is already a central theme in the presidential race.

As with most of our big problems, there is a lot of pre-history to sort through right here in New England.

Fifty years ago this month, the country was in the final stages of a revolution in immigration policy.

Although less celebrated than the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts that preceded it, the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 changed the nation forever. When the act was signed by President Lyndon Johnson on Oct. 3, he chose an appropriate location — the foot of the Statue of Liberty. But its path to that hallowed ground had wound through the neighborhoods of Boston. Read more at The Boston Globe.

 

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