No Asians Allowed: Immigration Yesterday and Today

“No city has been changed as fundamentally, as irreversibly, as Houston…No city has benefited more from immigration,” Rice University Prof. Stephen Klineberg says about Houston. You have to watch his speech about Houston and what he says about immigrants both legal and illegal.

As far as I know, there were no Malayalees in the United States before the 1960s. The laws below shed some light on the reason why.

1882: Chinese Exclusion Act probihits Chinese immigration for 10 years.

1924: National Origins Quota Act favors northern European immigrants, allows some southern Europeans and excludes all Asians.

1965: Kennedy passes the Immigration & Nationality Act. Priority was given to those who had family members who were U.S. citizens and to those who had professional skills. They wanted German engineers. No one had any inkling this would eventually bring in multitudes of Asians.

“It was not until 1965 — and for the first time in the 20th century — a non-European was allowed to come into this country,” Klineberg says. That’s why 71 percent of those aged 60 and older in our community are Anglos.

The landscape of the younger generation is completely different.

If you look at the Houston Independent School District (HISD), 60 percent of the students are Hispanic and 28 percent are African American. Klineberg says “it’s hard to envision a prosperous future for Houston” if these students are not prepared.

In related news, read here about immigration myths perpetuated by outspoken commentators on cable TV. (Hat tip: Immigration Chronicles blog).

Does anyone know who were some of the first Malayalees in the United States?

2 Comments Add yours

  1. jimmay says:

    I know Pastor PJ Thomas (Pastor John Thomas’ father) came to Chicago in 1948. He paved the way for many of Chicago’s malayalee immigrants and helped a great deal in insuring they survived the harsh early years of cultural and economical adjustment. My parents benefited from his guidance.

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