1965 Immigration Act,
which abolished this system, is justly celebrated as a civil rights measure thatopened up the United States to global migration for the first time. Recent developments with respect tothe priority date system, however, threaten to reverse this progress as a practical matter.The whole idea of priority dates is not to prevent immigration but to regulate it. That is not whatis happening today. If you are from Mexico or the Philippines, the family-based quotasdelaypermanent migration to the United States to such an extent that it is virtually blocked.
The categoriesmight just as well not exist for most people. If you are from China or India with an advanced degree,the implosion of the employment-based second preference (EB-2) and third Preference (EB-3)categories
does not regulate your coming permanently to the United States; it makes it functionallyimpossible. While the bonds that unite family members can be expected to survive many years of waiting, and even this is painfully excruciating, how many employers will wait a decade for anengineer or geophysicist? Will the business need still exist by the time the priority date becomescurrent? Will the business itself? In a labor certification case, what relevancy will a determination of
the Declaration of Independence seemed to be coming true. Abraham Lincoln’s fear is a warning that deserves to be quotedin full:I am not a Know-Nothing. That is certain. How could I be? How can any one who abhors the oppression of [N]egroes, be in favor or degrading classes of white people? Our progress in degeneracy appears to me to be prettyrapid. As a nation, we began by declaring that ‘
all men are created equal.
We now practically read it ‘all men arecreated equal,
When the Know-Nothings get control, it will read ‘all men are created equal,except [N]egroes, and
foreigners, and Catholics.
’ When it comes to this I should prefer emigrating to some countrywhere they make no pretence of loving liberty -- to Russia, for instance, where despotism can be taken pure, andwithout the base alloy of hypocrisy.A
(RoyBasler ed., Rutgers Univ. Press 1955) (1855) (Emphasis in original). To keep in perspective why quotas matter and whatthese quotas actually mean, had it not been for the national origin quotas, America may have been able to take in refugeesfrom Nazi Germany rather than allowing them to perish in the Holocaust.
Amendments to the Immigration and Nationality Act, Pub. L. No. 89-236, 79 Stat. 911 (1965). Our immigration laws tellus much about the psyche of the nation itself. The 1952 Act, notable for its many ideological grounds of exclusion, reflectedthe harsh suspicion and garrison mentality of the Cold War.
Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952, Pub. L. No. 82-414, 66 Stat. 163 (1952). The 1965 Act, passed the same year as the Voting Rights Act and only one year after the CivilRights Act of 1964, was the confident expression of a prosperous nation. Now, America does not know what it wants and iscaught between the implacable realities of the global marketplace and the primordial urge to resist change by holding on to adomestic world view that is fading fast. The authors pay homage to the late Senator Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.) forushering the 1965 Act that eliminated the racist national origin quotas and changed the face of America. The “Lion of theSenate” remained steadfastly committed to immigration reform and due process until the time of his death on August 25,2009. As the floor manager for the 1965 Act in the Senate, he played a crucial role in its enactment.
For instance, the U.S. Department of State’s Visa Bulletin for April 2010, the latest that was available at the time of writingthis article, indicates that the cut-off dates for family-based third preference for Mexico and the Philippines are 10/15/1992and 3/1/1992 respectively, while the cut-off date for the rest of the world is 5/22/01.
. 2010, Mar. 09, 2010, http://www.travel.state.gov/visa/frvi/bulletin/bulletin_4747.html.
INA § 203(b)(2) and § 203(b)(3) [8 U.S.C. § 1153(b)(2) and § 1153(b)(3) (2006)]. Charles Oppenheim of theDepartment of State Visa Office advised AILA in June 2009 that the EB-2 India preference for India, which had alreadyretrogressed to January 1, 2000, would likely become unavailable in August or September 2009. It is a measure of the timesthat, when the EB-2 for India leapfrogged three years to January 2003 in the August Visa Bulletin, and then to January 8,2005 in the September Visa Bulletin, such forward movement was greeted with an almost audible sigh of relief, even thoughthe holy grail of a current priority date remained a shimmering mirage.
Department of State Advises of Dire State of Affairs on Visa Number Availability for Those Born in India or China!