The Immigration And Nationality Act Of 1965

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In 2012, Pew Research Center characterized Asian Americans as the “highest-income, best-educated, and fastest-growing racial group in the United States.” However, Asians in the United States weren’t always considered the “model minority.” Early Asian immigrants—who were mostly from Japan, China, India, and a smaller number coming from Korea—in the United States were mostly low-skilled male laborers, concentrated in ethnic ghettos, and were provided no paths to naturalized citizenship (J.Lee and Bean 2010). Scholars point to the passage of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 as the keystone moment in Asian immigration that contributed to the current demographic characteristics and assimilation experiences of Asian Americans (J.Lee 2015; Min and Kim 2009; Okamoto 2014). The Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 privileged immigrant family reunifications and high-skilled applicants—resulting in a big increase in immigration from Asia as well as the influx of highly educated Asians. Post-1965 Asian immigrants are not only more highly educated than earlier immigrants, but also more highly educated than their ethnic counterparts who remain in the home countries (Feliciano 2005). Furthermore, contemporary Asian immigrants exhibit hyper- and high selectivity. J. Lee and Zhou (2015) found that Chinese and Korean immigrants who came to the United States after the 1965 Immigration Act exhibit doubly high selectivity: they are more educated than both their non-immigrant and American counterparts. Similarly, Vietnamese immigrants exhibit higher educational level than their non-immigrant Vietnamese counterparts. Such high- and hyper-selectivity of post-1965 Asian immigrants “has led to favorable socioeconomic outcomes of Asian Ameri... ... middle of paper ... ...lly darker, are less likely to achieve marital assimilation to begin with due to their socioeconomic differences from the whites. While research in this area of “other Asian”-white intermarriages and their children is greatly lacking, one could safely assume that their latter-generation children are less likely to achieve “symbolic” ethnic identity or “honorary white” status through interracial marriages, since they are less likely to have contact with whites educationally, occupationally, and/or residentially. Therefore, the increasing rate of Asian-white interracial marriages may be contributing to the emergence of tri-racial order where multi-racial Asians occupy a location somewhere between “white” and “honorary white,” while the “other Asians” are moving into the direction of the “collective black” with blocked opportunities for interracial marriage with whites.

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