Is Multicultural America the Product of A Mistake?: The 1965 Immigration Act and Evidence From Roll Call Votes

Gabriel J. Chin, Douglas M. Spencer
Published in
University of Illinois Law Review 1239
Publication Date

In a remarkable span of fifteen months between July 1964 and October 1965, Congress passed and President Lyndon B. Johnson signed three landmark civil rights bills: the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (“CRA”), the Voting Rights Act of 1965 (“VRA”), and the Immigration and Nationality Act (“INA”) Amendments of 1965. These laws unquestionably marked a turning point in American history and dramatically changed American society. Of the three, the last may be the least celebrated and the most consequential. Half a century after the CRA, African Americans still experience dramatic disparities in wealth, income, education, employment, and access to health care as compared to whites. The VRA revolutionized access to the ballot in many parts of the United States, but racial disparities persist in voter registration and participation. The Supreme Court has invalidated one critical provision of the VRA and expressed doubts about another