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Looking back, the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 turned out to be one of the most significant pieces of legislation ever passed by the U.S. Congress. Now, the people who wrote it knew that it would be so naturally spent a lot of time trying to convince everyone else that, in fact, it was no big deal.
“This is not a revolutionary bill,” assured Lyndon Johnson when he signed it – he first tip that it was, in fact, a revolutionary bill. And then there was this. On the Senate floor, Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts, the man who drove the bill, went out of his way to explain that the Democratic Party was absolutely not trying to replace the American population with more compliant foreign-born voters. No way. That’s an insane conspiracy theory he explained. “This bill will not flood our cities with immigrants,” Kennedy said. “It will not upset the ethnic mix of our society. It will not relax the standards of admission. It will not cause American workers to lose their jobs.”
It’s all bitterly amusing when you look back at it, because, of course, that is precisely what this bill