After 50 Years of “Thoughtless” Immigration Policy Let’s Define a Public Interest Objective

Hubert_Humphrey_and_Lyndon_JohnsonIn an op-ed appearing in the New Boston Post, I discuss the unintended consequences of the 1965 Immigration Act, described by historian Theodore White as “probably the most thoughtless of the many acts of the Great Society.” The op-ed also lays out some “thoughtful” ideas about how to reform our dysfunctional legal immigration policy.

It’s been 50 years since Lyndon Johnson signed the Immigration Act of 1965 into law. In that time, the law has accomplished two things: First, it ended the offensive and discriminatory national origins quota system, as intended. Second, it has radically transformed America and will change the country even more radically over the next half century, an outcome that was not intended.

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avatar About Dan Stein

Dan is FAIR's President after joining the organization in 1982. He has testified more than 50 times before Congress, and been cited in the media as "America's best known immigration reformer." Dan has appeared on virtually every significant TV and radio news/talk program in America and, in addition to being a contributing editor to, has contributed commentaries to a vast number of print media outlets.


  1. avatar No Change says:

    Are you sure about the message of your article Dan?

    The Act of 1965 has nothing to do with nowadays………every Congress session should have improved/maintained the System…..that is the reason we have problems……Canada for example makes sure a company is 50% canadian driven before bringing in a foreigner……

    Our current situation is the inability of Congress not to have followed up the System as per each session country’s situation not improving the Immigration Laws, allowing outsourcing, letting foreign Corporations buy our corporations, ( IBM, Motorola, etc)……letting foreign contracting companies bring workers from overseas, .let China destroy our industries,…….etc

    That is the critical point and root cause of the problems. Now without the Act of 1965, take a peak at all achievements that led us to become the best and a power and correlate that to 1965.

    • avatar No Change says:

      and a given….government expansion and States’ over spending not to mention if that sector is bad about the military one that ones has access to the details. You see the picture is bigger than you though. You might fall in to believing the illegals are the problem but that is negligible compared to the other biggest problems I mentioned.

      • avatar No Change says:

        So what appears to be thoughtless is the fact that our parents and great did nothing about this either….BUT if I see them and the people around them and the one around me……..they were all successful so this non sense of thoughtfulness just came about due to the recession…………

        • avatar No Change says:

          INTERESTING…!!!..This is a lot more complex than the average intellect can handle to understand and realize our current situation…….even myself writing feedback her I came to expand my brains a bit more to realize this.

          • avatar Leland says:

            I have no idea why this site doesn’t ban you. You’re doing nothing but trying to distract with endless posts.

          • avatar Not Politically Correct says:

            Your name “No Change” is perfect. You endless, pointless drivel does not change.

          • avatar No Change says:

            Not Politically Correct Interestingly enough you are brainless!!!

          • avatar No Change says:

            Leland make an effort and understand what I am saying….you should be smarter than the teenagers nowadays instead of answering like one.

  2. avatar SecBorders says:

    Look back over the past, with its changing empires that rose and fell, and you can foresee the future, too. —Marcus Aurelius

    When I was a girl, the idea that the British Empire could ever end was absolutely inconceivable. And it just disappeared, like all the other empires. —Doris Lessing

    • avatar SecBorders says:

      Marcus Aurelius ruled the Roman Empire at its height and was one of the most powerful individuals in history. As emperor he stabilized the empire and defended the borders with success.

      • avatar No Change says:

        Really?… a country we stand for Freedom and as such, we would have never bowed at the Romans nor The Spaniards( you forgot the Spaniards the biggest Modern Empire…why?….) and we kicked the British out of our Land….as you see…..that Roman’s Wall fell for what they stood for… did the Easter German one……….

        As an American, I do not agree with your comments as an example of who we are. There are other ways to do this Congress is not willing to do without a Wall. Get a grip of yourself and remember who you are: An American…….

        • avatar No Change says:

          SecBorders…….remember….Rome…heavy taxes……….1776 no taxes to England……you need to do some soul searching…….

          • avatar No Change says:

            just food for thought….lets say worst case scenario and we are going down BUT…….those citizens children of illegals who came here for a better life NOT to take advantage of the system…….and they are now professionals, or best low skill people……and want to improve this place through their work for a better future…..

            I say give it to them……The birth of this country and the American Dream, belong to those who keep the dream alive and contribute to its well being to never ever be gone as a way of life. That is the reason People kept on coming to The New World which as a result from The Massachusetts Bay Colony a country was born: The United States of America.

            People hungry for a better life controlling their own future and a common goal: Freedom.

            I get a kick out of it when people like you say: we are going brown…..hahahaha!!!……wake up…..we started going black centuries ago that is actually beautiful….you might have some black ancestor……so think about this one:

            So blacks were not wanted,…..slaves no education…..WAIT..YET thanks to them we also became a power. SOON< a Mexican……NOT a slave, some most have an education…… given the chance…..comparing to the blacks…… we will be 10X a power……use your brains not all illegal are bad…our Congress is not doing its job………

          • avatar No Change says:

            Why am I saying this? just like the flu…they are already here and part of the system …….best solution is to enable them (the good ones) for full potential so that we can see the contributions………where you will get in you Social Security….this the last chance you might get some green……….

          • avatar No Change says:

            SecBorders…….remember….Rome…conquered places and slaved people heavy taxes……….1776 no taxes to England…unlike you here in the US we stand by Freedom….…you need to do some soul searching……

  3. avatar Mark Jason says:

    Dan has much of it right–it would be great if we could pick and choose–especially with the new crop of those seeking asylum from Syria. However, our problem is that we have around 11 million undocumented immigrants from all over the world, many of which have a limited education and around 8.5 million of them seeking low paying jobs.

    The democrats want to offer them mass citizenship and have them pay federal and state income taxes, unemployment insurance as well as Social Security and Medicare. Problematic is that with low paying jobs, SS and MC benefits often exceed contributions from 4 to 15 times. Additionally, our immigrant tax policies leave huge gaps where over a million undocumented immigrants game U.S. tax policies for billions of dollars annually.

    The republicans that don’t seek mass deportation speak of “temporary work visas” but without defining a related tax as do the democrats, however misguided.

    In ignoring an effective tax, neither party is considering the huge impact undocumented immigrants make on our healthcare, (ER rooms for example) educational, penal and other programs. .

    Many republicans support work visas and if they attached a simple to pay a 5% tax on labor from workers and their employer, it would generate $100 billion to fund immigration reform, $76 billion to help support our infrastructure to help us maintain commerce and create over 600,000 jobs.

  4. avatar Diane anglin says:

    How can we take in more and more people when we are not even talking care of our own? In the last five years I have taken in five people I know who have lost their jobs and their homes because of the economic decline and was very upset as to how little assistance our government gives its own long time paying taxpayers when hard times come. We need to take care of our own. And until we can do a much better job of helping our own citizens we need to cut way back on what we do for people that are non Americans.

    • avatar Leland says:

      Around town I see an older woman in a wheelchair who is homeless. I give her a couple dollars sometimes. Yet all immigrants have to do is apply and they get housing assistance, food stamps, medical care pretty much on demand. A lot of the homeless are veterans. I saw a study a couple years ago that contended it is much more difficult now for the homeless to break that cycle because of things like high rent prices. Decades ago there were cheap hotels that could be rented cheaply by the week and eventually a lot of them got back on their feet. Now there is almost no cheap housing in many major cities, especially New York and California. The fact is that many people who are homeless and living in their cars, sometimes with kids, are working. They just don’t make enough to afford shelter.

      • avatar No Change says:

        BULL!!!…..they can apply and they will get Welfare…..the difference is that they are psychologically unstable…….

  5. avatar David Smith says:

    The recent vote to not consider the “Santuary City” bill was not reported in the corporate mass media. Neither was a Sente bill to end “anchor babies”, nor a bill to close the loophole on “child trafficing, nor a bill to require “mandatory” e-verify. We used to joke that “Pravda”, the Russian newspaper in Moscow, was nothing more than a propaganda house organ for the Russian government. Guess what? We have the same thing where our news organizations are nothing more than brain washing machines spewing garbage for public consumptin.

  6. avatar George Fuller says:


    We are being invaded and overwhelmed by mass legal and illegal immigration while Congress refuses to initiate legislation to counter the invasion. For various reasons (dems for voters and reps for cheap labor) put personal gain over country and its citizens. The American way of life is being eliminated by corrupt radicals in the highest offices in the government of the United States.

    If our representatives really cared about the country and us, the citizens, they would enact the following legislation:
    Mandatory E-Verify (promised by Congress in 1986)
    Amend Immigration & Naturalization Act to require at least one parent be a citizen for a child born in the country to be a citizen.
    Require proof of citizenship to get welfare.
    Put troops on the border & build a wall. (promised by Congress in 1986)
    Make it a felony to enter illegally or overstay a visa with mandatory jail time.
    End Temporary Protected Status program which is not temporary but a back door path to citizenship.
    Repeal Cuban Adjustment Act that treats illegal Cubans as refugees.
    Reduce legal IMM to less than 50K a year.
    End chain migration
    End Diversity visas
    Take back control of corrupt refugee program from U.N. and drastically reduce quota.
    Require legal immigrants to have an education, a skill and speak English.
    Dramatically reduce H-1B visas…….we don’t need to import lawn mower operators and maids.
    Stop any aid to countries that will not take back citizens being deported.

    Citizens: Ask your rep in Congress what he or she is doing to enact any of the above measures to help preserve the American way of life.

  7. avatar Leland says:

    The proponents of both the 1965 immigration act and the 1986 amnesty were completely wrong Bringing in tens of millions of low education and low skilled workers based on nothing more than family reunification has not been a positive, considering that a significant number end up on some kind of government assistance.

    • avatar No Change says:

      how do you know that? do you really know the negative impact> how about the positive impact?……the only way to know is to actually collect al the data and correlate that to nowadays…………in the meantime without all theat data “to really know” all we say has no basis ……

      • avatar No Change says:

        Leland this is a fact for example….some of the best scientist brains and students and people came to the US in the last 50 years ….n thanks to them we became the best………….refute that……..if you can….not even in life times…….most Nobel Prizes in the last 3-4 years are not even from here……Google CEO Russian, Apple son of a middle east professor, Nasa the man was German, Motorola of Irish descent…..and keep on going………….the illegal the good ones created wealth for the Americans they worked for……their kids now professionals & Congressmen…..for instance Marco Rubio great grand child of a Cuban Illegal immigrant……Trump the Flintstones Bam Bam….of german descent…..but he had it the easiest of all I mentioned so as a result no effort on his side so he is the only dummy……..out of all…..I can keep on going ….

        Yes you are going t say well the Welfare…..well then I tell you fix our system where our own do not take advantage and all we have left is the best…….

        • avatar Leland says:

          So the average immigrant wins a Nobel prize? Whatever you say.

          • avatar No Change says:

            It does not surprise me you don’t grasp our reality,,,,,you are completely misinformed and unwilling to look into things or research what I say……….

  8. avatar Concerned Citizen says:

    Dan Stein offers sage advice in this op-ed. Is the country capable of responding to the challenge, or are we truly a Balkanized, second-tier country now? The United States needs great leadership on immigration reform, not more of the stale, corrupt political culture that has allowed the mass immigration problem to grow over the decades.

    • avatar No Change says:

      Well Concerned Citizen you must know that the guys is Congress are basically in a way the most senior guys in this land. So they are all related,cousins……their ancestors came in the same ships back in the 1620-130+s………………….

      So the interesting observation to make is………decisions good or bad have been made……by the people who have the most rights in this land and The People elected them…… now transpose that into a regular person…….nothing is perfect and it is always the easiest to speak after the facts……but always best to act, never too late………

      OR that is life…..300 years ago people had 5-10 kids…basically the face of Congress… look at our society. That is what is going to look like regardless. So I say enjoy life and embrace the future. I am not saying give up and do nothing to improve the country. But I think this the very idiosyncrasy of every old to new generation when age passes and the new generation is face with the same reality and questions once it gets old.

      Another observation is that most immigrants came with the same goal and basically similar or same culture. NOW that is a problem nowadays. They come from everywhere so look at Congress they don’t get along so what do you think Congress in the next 300 will look like……may be it was the same 300 years ago and THE MAIN REASON Congress was designed that way…….to deadlock………

      • avatar No Change says:

        That feedback was to you Concerned and Dan S. It is always best to understand the whole picture besides the low level details of our current situation to be able to finally realize who we are and will be.

        • avatar No Change says:

          perhaps, once we are gone and look back we will realize that is the way it is and we spend all this time and effort in our lives that amounted to nothing?……..instead of being positive and productive?

          Well, my feedback is given just to look at the top level/whole pictures of things…and the other side of reality the article down not show and without it would not exist or have meaning…we only live maybe up to 100 years and our experiences are biased to our mentality and upbringing……so much we are not aware and we think we know and form opinions that fall beyond ignorance until we realize the true facts…….

          • avatar No Change says:

            Dan thank you for the article…definitely it has been controversial and per people’s reality and condition nowadays……meaning…..those people from the 50 years that came here, without we would not have become the power that we became……so that is the other side of the coin….complex isn’t?

          • avatar No Change says:

            and with the goods things, bad thing come as well………………..