tv Immigration and the Hart- Celler Act CSPAN August 23, 2015 2:05pm-2:25pm EDT
recently, american history tv was at the society for historians of american foreign relations annual meeting in arlington, virginia. we spoke with professors, authors, and graduate students about their research. this interview is about 20 minutes. >> maria cristina garcia, a professor at ithaca, new york or you focus a lot on immigration, post-world war ii, cold war era. what you tell your students at this conference? them that probably everything they know about immigration is probably wrong. a bit of mythology about immigrants and our immigrant history. in my course list, i try to tackle that mythology and try to help them discern what is true and what is false about what
they know about immigrants. conference, i am focused on the intersections of immigration history and foreign policy history. unfortunately, they feel even though they are intersected, they have not engaged in a conversation with each other for some time and they should. one could argue immigrants are the poster children of foreign policy. >> this is a personal story for you. maria: it is. i have always been interested in the experiences of immigrants and the refugees in particular. >> how often have you been back to cuba? >> three or four times. i led cornell alumni's back and
got a sense of how it has changed in recent years. >> how has the country changed? what the remember? maria: i do not remember anything about the early time. americans have the wrong idea about cuba appear they feel it is a land locked in time. how often have we heard americans say that we have to go back to cuba quickly before it changes. the reality is cuba has been changing dramatically over the past 50 years. wonderfulse there are 1950's era automobiles in the streets, it does not mean the society has not been changing. every time you visit cuba, you get a sense of how the society is changing. of the a sense aspirations and hopes and jeans of the cuban people. , what wast-celler act
that? maria: this year marks the anniversary. origins had significantly reduced or eliminated altogether andgration from southern eastern europe, from asia, and from other parts of the world. the americas were largely theyded from these because needed labor from somewhere in the world. what the hart-celler act did is instead of put limits on the --ntries, it set up immigrants coming from the eastern hemisphere, and for the first time, it imposed a limit on the western hemisphere of 120,000.
later on, about a decade later in the 1970's, the limits were abandoned in favor of an overall global ceiling of 290,000. the law has been amended many times since then and today, it is much much larger. >> have been unintended consequences? maria: yes. that is what we're told. there were two unintended consequences in particular, one having to do with the countries and the other one having to do with numbers here it for much of american history, the immigration has largely come from europe and africa. , we result of hart-celler have seen a demographic shift. 77% of immigrants have become -- have come from the american -- the americas, asia, and other place in the world. the second one has to do with overall numbers. as i mentioned before, we have a global ceiling.
at present, in 2015, the global ceiling is 200 -- family also prioritized members of american citizens and permanent residents. it also prioritized people with particular job skills. if he fit in one of those categories, you could potentially immigrate in the united states outside of the global ceiling. the actual number of people who have come in is always much higher than the global ceiling. let me give you an example. 600the global ceiling was 75,000 we also admit an additional 480,000 under a family reunification system. we admit a minimum of 140,000 employment-based visas. admit 55 thousand diversity visa's. then we bring and 70,000
refugees under a separate track in the immigration. actual numberhe of people who left come in each year have really hovered in the one million mark in terms of authorized migrations. unknown amount that come in without authorization, but we do not know what the actual numbers are. is 11 million and other say much higher. if you follow debates today over illegal immigrants, what are your thoughts? first, i should say people have been migrating back and forth from their countries of origin to the united states. what happened with hart-celler is for the first time he put a limit on it. that means is this migration that had existed since the early 19th century were people were moving back and forth across the us-mexico border or common across united states, actually
recruiting for the american labor market, suddenly after 1965, that migration becomes limited. but the patterns of migration continue to exist. the people continue to migrate. suddenly those people find they are labeled unauthorized. prior to 1965, they were just part of the natural order of things. coming from mexico without authorization, their migrating to an area of the united states that was once part of their country. over half of our country was once half of mexico. their ancestors had been migrating for generations. the labeling of this migration as unauthorized, it was a fairly recent phenomenon. you give a name to it and that is what makes it unauthorized. >> why did they come to united
states? what are they looking for? maria: a wide range of reasons. let me talk at the migration to american general. havee from the americas been coming to the united states since the 19th century, and primarily from mexico, cuba, and puerto rico. puerto rico is an interesting case study because after congress passed the jones act, they become citizens. they are the one group from the americas that are not immigrants, technically. they are u.s. citizens traveling from one u.s. territory to the continental united states. century, werly 19th have seen significant migration from mexico, cuba, and puerto rico. there are other migrations from the americas that are a more recent phenomenon, the products military, and form policy intervention. the dominican republic today is one of the major source
countries of authorized and unauthorized migration. very little migration to the united states prior to 1961. it was not allowed. 1961, a civil war breaks out in the dominican republic. the united states uses migration as a way to politically and economically stabilize the dominican republic. the united states actively encourages migration out of the country as a way of encouraging civilization. that sets a pattern that continues into the present day. today, over 20% of to manikins outside of their country of origin. eye states and puerto rico. >> can you take it one step further and talk about the waves of migration over the years? not only the last 50 years, but the last 200 years, what we have seen and when in this country? couple ofyou have a
hours? it is fascinating history. a fascinating history. through the 19th century, the migration was primarily european and african. most of -- most of it was in slave labor. that experience central to the history of the united states and our economic and political formation as well. it is a different kind of immigrant experience. during most of the 19th century, the migration from europe is coming from northern and western europe. around the 1880's, that begins to shift. we see most of the migration coming from europe is coming from southern and eastern europe. you also begin to see a large-scale migration from certain countries, particularly china and japan but also in the philippines. migration is the first
congress.ricted by congress passes the chinese exclusion act, first time prevents aliberately particular group from emigrating to the united states. it is not until 1943 that the chinese are allowed to imgrate again. 100 immigration floods, which is insignificant, i think you will agree. it is really not until the 1960 plus we begin to see the number f chinese who come to the u.s. >> whether or not the u.s. can learn from other countries or whether other countries learn from the u.s. about what we do with immigration, how would you respond? we tend to view the american experience as exceptional. see echoes of the american experience and american
policy in other parts of the world. , there is greater nations onbetween issues of immigration policy. i know certainly for the americas, every couple of years, representatives from the united states in various countries in the americas gather to discuss a wide range of issues and migration is one of them. is a reality in today's world. if you have been following recent reports this past week from the united nations, the number of people who are displaced and forced across international borders, an all-time high. >> if we were in your classroom
now, what kinds of questions are you asking and what answers are you looking for in regards to immigration? maria: a great question. they want to understand the family experience and put it in larger context to see how they -- their experience -- that is one set of motivation speared others approach it from a policy standpoint. interested in a legislative reform. the history of the presidency. they want to understand how it has changed and what is the appropriate course of action. we are at a moment in our history where we are reconsidering our immigration and we are not in agreement about what that should look like.
trying to come up with an appropriate answer. that is another motivation for taking the clasp. and then the economists who take my classes want to understand the economic impact that immigrants have in the u.s.. >> you talk about the debate in this country, dealing with it now for 10 or 15 years. george w. bush tried to put an immigration plan on the table and it failed because republicans in the house and senate did not approve it. it will now be part of the debate in 2016. is this unique? did we have these types of debate family? maria: --debate frequently? maria: all the time. it has always been a sensitive issue. i think 9/11 has been the real game changer. since 9/11, immigration has been contribute into a larger discussion about national security. immigration is now a national security issue. whether it should be, i think
that is a subject to debate. think discussions about immigration and immigration reform have become all the more important in light of 9/11. they begin this next debate? immigration reform has many different pieces. in the public medium, most of the discussions have focused on tother to give a path citizenship without authorization. that is certainly a very important piece of the puzzle but there are many other pieces of the puzzle that need to be discussed. our humanitarian responses to refugees. it is another piece of the puzzle we need to discuss and that has not received enough attention. to favor continue
family reunification or should we put more emphasis on job skills, on bringing in people to the nine states have skills that are necessary to our u.s. economy? that is another set of issues we need to discuss. know, i think by focusing on just one easy of the puzzle, albeit a very important piece, i think we ignore that there are other issues we also need to discuss. >> these are immigrants who come to all parts of the country. to north dakota and iowa and other states around the country. maria: right. so yes, they come because they will find jobs. not any jobs and americas were not offering them jobs, immigrants would not come with or without authorization. >> why is this your passion? maria: because it is the american story. school,ent to graduate
it was to study colonial history. i realized i could be of more on thosey focusing histories that had been left out of the american narrative. we know so little about immigrants, about people of color, about the experiences of women, about the experience of gays and lesbians. there are so many communities central to the nice states. whose stories have not been fully told. i want them to be part of a community of scholars who tells that story. >> you have to do the research. where'd you go? i have worked in a wide range of sources. the presidential archives, i looked at the legislative record, popular media, oral histories.
consulted with as many as possible. >> thank you for your time. maria cristina garcia. [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2015] >> you're watching american history tv. every weekend on c-span3. follow us on twitter for oformation on our schedule programs and to keep up on the latest history news. >> i do not think any other people in america could take this kind of stuff. what do you think about the police? >> pigs, man. shit like that. do? are you going to they said, take you to the
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