Who Can Become an American? U.S. Immigration Policy, Racism and Civil Rights Struggle in the 20th Century
U.S. immigration laws define which peoples of the world should be admitted to the United States and who should be barred or limited from living, working, or becoming citizens. These laws have consistently reflected the ideas about race and ethnicity held by the policy makers who create them.
This talk will examine a few major examples of the legacies of racism in U.S. immigration law, including Asian exclusion, quota systems, the impact of the civil rights movement of the 1960s, and the ways that race is still a factor in the “colorblind” U.S. immigration policies that took shape after 1965.
Laila Ballout is an assistant professor of history. Her work focuses on citizen activism in the U.S. relationship with the Middle East, especially by considering immigrant and diaspora activism and the role of religion in U.S. engagement with the region. She is currently working on her book “Saving Lebanon: American and Lebanese Activism for Intervention in the Lebanese Civil War, 1975-1990”.