Background

Lesson 1: Topic 2 of 25

The United States rapidly entered an ethnic diversification process in 1965 with the passage of the Hart-Celler Act under President Johnson (LBJ). Before this law, Congress had imposed uneven immigration quotas that favored the arrival of more Northern European residents. 

By Yoichi Okamoto – LBJ Presidential Library, Public Domain LNHA lpc lmft competency

Interestingly, the President was sure that few people would want to reside in the United States. 

“This bill that we will sign today is not a revolutionary bill,” the president said. “It does not affect the lives of millions. It will not reshape the structure of our daily lives. … Yet it is still one of the most important acts of this Congress and of this administration. For it does repair a very deep and painful flaw in the fabric of American justice. It corrects a cruel and enduring wrong in the conduct of the American nation.”

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What an understatement! As we now know, the attraction of government stability, relative safety, social and economic mobility, various safety nets and services, and educational opportunities would draw millions from across the globe in the pursuant decades. LBJ couldn’t have been more mistaken about the effects. He simply did not recognize the “pull” factors that would entice millions of immigrants to take the plunge!

With this new legislation, the goals of immigration suddenly shifted from promoting an ethnically centered approach to one of established kinship relationships. “It was replaced with a preference system based on immigrants’ family relationships with U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents and, to a lesser degree, their skills.”

When cultures interact, there are inevitable misunderstandings. If there is no language barrier, values and understanding of values are often a factor. At the core of these values is worldview, or the deep key beliefs that a culture holds as unshakable truths. For this reason alone, studies of broad cultural factors are valuable. There are many other reasons to investigate worldview, however. Consider those on the next page.