Marking the 50th Anniversary of the 1965 Immigration Act

#MyImmigrantStory Campaign
October 2, 2015
October 3rd marks the 50th anniversary of the 1965 Immigration Act. As many of you know, this historic act has transformed immigration to the U.S. in the past 50 years and represents the last time that Congress passed comprehensive immigration form. 
 
The IHRC is recognizing the anniversary in a number of ways.
 
First, we're passing on a few resources that might be helpful in the classroom. The new Pew Research Center report examines immigration trends in the past 50 years and the next 50 years. One takeway: immigrants to the U.S. have shifted in origin away from Europe before 1965 to Latin America and Asia up through the 2000s, and more recently and in the future, to Asia.
 
A series of op-eds on the Act written for the Zocalo Public Square project in conjunction with the Houston Chronicle and the Smithsonian offer historical perspectives (Erika Lee), policy perspectives (Douglas Massey many others), and sociological perspectives (Richard Alba and Nancy Foner). 
 
Pair these perspectives with digital stories created by recent immigrants and refugees from the IHRC's Immigrant Stories Project. Our project (now funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities) now has over 150 stories in its collection and was just profiled in the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Toolkits on how to make Immigrant Stories in the classroom are available for free from the Minnesota Digital Library: http://immigrants.mndigital.org/exhibits/show/immigrantstories-exhibit/share
 
On October 23-24, the IHRC will be hosting close to 175 scholars, teachers, students, professionals, and community members to campus for our conference: Immigrant America: New Immigration Histories from 1965 to the Present. Highlights include a Keynote on the 1965 Immigration Act by Professor Hiroshi Motomura (UCLA Law), Discussion with Eric Schwartz (Dean, Hubert Humphrey School of Public Policy at the University of Minnesota and former U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Population, Refugees, and Migration on the current refugee crisis in Europe, as well as panels on the 1965 Immigration Act, African and African American migrations, international adoption, Scandinavian immigrants and indigenous encounters, Latino history and Chicano rights, refugee migrations, Asian American drama, and more. 
 
This is just one of several conferences and symposia on the 1965 Immigration Act happening around the country this month. IHRC Director Erika Lee will be participating in: "How Did the 1965 Immigration Act Change America" at the National Museum of American History (DC) on Oct. 1"Fifty Years after Reform: The Successes, Failures, and Lessons from the Immigration Act of 1965" at the Cato Institute (DC) on Oct. 2"The Making of Asian America" at the National Archives (DC) on Oct. 2, and "Transforming Migrations: Beyond the 1965 Act" at UC Irvine on Oct. 8-9.  
 
To recognize how the 1965 Act has changed the US, and to create a place for immigrants and refugees to share their own experiences, the IHRC is launching the #MyImmigrantStory campaign. Starting during the month of October, we're inviting social media users to share their own personal or family immigration stories on Twitter and Facebook. We hope that #MyImmigrantStory will contribute to the current debate over immigration by telling our own important stories. We'll highlight some of these stories on our own social media accounts.
 
Throughout October, we'll highlight some of the stories shared with us through our Facebook group and twitter accounts (@ImmigrantMN and @UMN_IHRC). We invite you to do the same.
 
Lastly, 2015 represents the IHRC's 50th anniversary as well! Read a recent story about our work here.