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The Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952 can be found under Title 8 of the United States Code. This piece of legislation is extremely important to your immigration case because it contains all the laws and policies pertaining to immigration within the United States. Prior to this act, immigration law was scattered throughout several statutes but not collected in any one place.

The Immigration and Nationality Act made a number of key changes to former policies, including the elimination of certain racial restrictions that dated back to 1790. This was a huge decision that opened many doors and eliminated outdated notions of American ideals. Previously, the laws had been so restricted and neglected immigrant groups and populations.


The act also broadened the number of offenses for which a non-citizen could be deported. Senator Pat McCarran and Congressman Francis Walter sponsored the bill, which is why it is also known as the McCarran-Walter Act. President Harry Truman vetoed the bill because he believed it was too restrictive and would keep too many immigrants out of the country. His veto, however, was overridden by votes in the House and Senate.

In 1965, an amendment to the Immigration and Nationality Act opened new doors to immigrants from all over the world by eliminating the old national origins quota system. The new system would approve or deny applicants based on the skills or their family relationships with current U.S. residents, rather than on their country of origin.

There are some of the revisions that the 1965 act included:

  • Abolishment of a quota system based on nation of origin
  • Preference given to maintaining families, not separating them
  • Preference given to workers with exceptional skill
  • Higher immigration numbers from Asia, Africa, and Latin America

Coinciding with the civil rights movement that was brewing in the U.S., the amended act was revolutionary, as it reflected America’s vision of moving forward, rather than the antiquated and close-minded beliefs of previous generations. As a sign of the importance of this act, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the new Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 bill into law at the Statute of Liberty.


After the September 11 attacks, immigration further underwent an amendment. This time, much of the immigration laws were handled by a new unit, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), created in 2002. While many of the amendments from the 1965 act remain unchanged and still stand today, the department added further efforts to fight terrorism. It also established the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency, which seeks to prevent illegal immigration, criminals, drugs, and other elements that may upset U.S. security, economy, and food supply.

The process of obtaining visas became stricter. The forward-thinking of the 1960’s had been replaced with paranoia, and in some respects, returned the same discriminatory views that the 1965 act had sought to repel. Now while the process has become more extensive, it is still possible to realize that piece of the American Dream. Having the assistance of an experienced immigration attorney can be very beneficial at a time when the laws have become so complex and may still continue to develop.


When you are ready to begin your immigration journey, the attorneys at the Fisher Legal Group want to stand beside you. Each Orlando immigration lawyer at our firm is thoroughly familiar with the immigration laws that affect you. With an attorney from our firm on your side, you won’t be alone!

Call our Florida law office today to set up a free case evaluation with one of our trusted and dedicated lawyers.

Fisher Legal Group

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