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Asian American Studies 60B 1

Asian American Studies 60B 1 - T ran 1 Tony Tran Asian...

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Tran 1 Tony Tran Asian American Studies 60B Professor John Liu February 5, 2009 The Changing American Culture and the Lasting Effects of the 1965 Immigration Act Immigration is one of the most important and problematic legal issues today; continually changing into an unsolvable dilemma in the United States since the beginning of its history. The word immigrant is defined as one that migrates to another country for permanent residence (lecture 1/20). In America’s history the first immigrants were white and black. Then, in the late 1800’s Asians and Latinos began to approach America’s borders. Immigration restrictions have been continuously refined throughout history to restrict different ethnic groups, making it impossible for them to establish an identity in the United States. Minorities in the United States were looked down upon by whites from 1776 up until the early-mid 1900’s. To keep the amount of minorities in America to a favorable amount, the United States government implemented laws to control immigration (lecture 1/22). Though this is true, the early work of these immigrant workers cannot be ignored; many of their works still exist today. This is especially true for Asian immigrants. Taken in as a replacement work force for the former black slaves, many Chinese workers sacrificed their lives for the railroad tracks spanning the West; Chinese, Japanese, and Pilipino workers established the foundation of California’s agricultural system (lecture 1/15). But one must observe the amount of Asians leading up to the 1900’s; Asians made up less than half of one percent in the United States (Zia 5). This was due largely to the
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Tran 2 strict constraints on immigrations. That was until the 1965, when the Immigration Act removed all quotas that pertained to each specific nation (lecture 1/20). The 1965 Immigration Act made it possible for Asians to immigrate in large numbers to the United States; undoubtedly changing the image of Asian Americans. Many of these changes occurred in ways that were obscured to the average American, but for many Asians, they no longer fell in the white or black paradigm, the model minority concept was revised (Zhou 469), dense populations of Asians developed on the East and West coast (lecture 1/29), and social movements demanding equal rights for all became a frequent occurrence (Zia 227). All of these issues faced a key turning point due to the 1965 Act.
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