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Cuban and Mexican Immigrants in the United States.

Since 1965

The Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965, also known as the Hart-Cellar Act, abolished the system of national-origin quotas. By equalizing immigration policies, the act resulted in new immigration from non-European nations, which changed the ethnic make-up of the United States.[33] In 1970, 60% of immigrants were from Europe; this decreased to 15% by 2000.[34] In 1990, George H. W. Bush signed the Immigration Act of 1990,[35] which increased legal immigration to the United States by 40%.[36] In 1991, Bush signed the Armed Forces Immigration Adjustment Act 1991, allowing foreign service members who had serve 12 or more years in the US Armed Forces to qualify for permanent residency and, in some cases, citizenship.

In November 1994, California voters passed Proposition 187 amending the state constitution, denying state financial aid to illegal immigrants. The federal courts voided this change, ruling that it violated the federal constitution.[37]

Appointed by Bill Clinton,[38] the U.S. Commission on Immigration Reform recommended reducing legal immigration from about 800,000 people per year to approximately 550,000.[39] While an influx of new residents from different cultures presents some challenges, “the United States has always been energized by its immigrant populations,” said President Bill Clinton in 1998. “America has constantly drawn strength and spirit from wave after wave of immigrants … They have proved to be the most restless, the most adventurous, the most innovative, the most industrious of people.”[40]

Boston Chinatown, Massachusetts, 2008.

In 2001, President George W. Bush discussed an accord with Mexican President Vincente Fox. Possible accord was derailed by the September 11 attacks. From 2005 to 2013, the US Congress discussed various ways of controlling immigration. The Senate and House were unable to reach an agreement.[37]

Nearly 14 million immigrants entered the United States from 2000 to 2010,[41] and over one million persons were naturalized as U.S. citizens in 2008. The per-country limit[7] applies the same maximum on the number of visas to all countries regardless of their population and has therefore had the effect of significantly restricting immigration of persons born in populous nations such as Mexico, China, India, and the Philippines—the leading countries of origin for legally admitted immigrants to the United States in 2013;[42] nevertheless, China, India, and Mexico were the leading countries of origin for immigrants overall to the United States in 2013, regardless of legal status, according to a U.S. Census Bureau study.[43] As of 2009, 66% of legal immigrants were admitted on the basis of family ties, along with 13% admitted for their employment skills and 17% for humanitarian reasons