JACL, Bachmann Differ on Immigration and Nationality Act

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WASHINGTON — During a recent Republican presidential debate, Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota stated that the nation’s immigration system “worked very, very well up until the mid-1960s.”

She was referring to the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965, legislation that the JACL vigorously supported by providing testimony in Congress.

“The Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 made immigration quotas more equitable between the western and eastern hemisphere nations,” the National JACL said in a statement on Sept. 14. “Prior to 1965, laws favored immigration from European countries because the quotas were based on the number of people who were already living in the U.S.

“Furthermore, immigration laws passed in 1917 (Asiatic Barred Zone Act) and 1924 (Asian Exclusion Act) specifically excluded Asians from immigration to the U.S.

“The JACL fought for an equitable, inclusive immigration policy in 1965 and we dismiss Bachmann’s claim that the immigration system worked well until that time. The 1965 immigration law adheres more closely to this nation’s values of fairness and equity than those selective and restrictive immigration policies that preceded it.”

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