Chapter 1: A legacy of discrimination
Becoming America
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We introduce our topic and provide an overview of the book. We posit a clear bias in U.S. immigration policy that favored entry from Europe and, notably, from Northern and Western European countries until the enactment of the Hart-Celler Act in 1968 (i.e., the Immigration Act of 1965). Only in recent decades have there been a significant increase in the number of annual immigrant arrivals and a considerable shift in the source countries and regions of immigrant arrivals to the U.S. towards Asia, Latin American and the Caribbean, and, to a lesser extent, Africa. We contend that many recent immigrant arrivals to the U.S. have entered a country that is quite culturally dissimilar from their countries of origin. However, through acculturation there has been a movement of U.S. culture away from that of the more traditional European immigrant source countries and towards the cultures of the more recent arrivals’ home countries.

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