Dr. King and Immigration Reform19 Jan 2010
Last week, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services held several citizenship ceremonies around the country, in honor of Martin Luther King, according to an article in the Los Angeles Times. (See: Immigration Reform Advocates See Inspiration in Work of MLK, Honored at Naturalization Events). The LA Times quotes USCIS director, Alejandro Mayokas, as commenting that, “When we greet new citizens into the United States we speak of the open opportunities that our country presents to everyone around the world who qualifies for the benefits our agency administers. Martin Luther King helped define those hopes and opportunities for everyone.” The article notes that, up until the Immigration and Nationality Services Act of 1965, U.S. immigration policies heavily favored northern Europeans, and made it difficult for people from other places to get in. According to the article, the law changed in part because Dr. King and the civil rights movement created the political preconditions for the creation of a fairer, more democratic immigration system in 1965. This made it clear that America is open to everyone, not just northern Europeans, and our country is all the richer for this diversity – something worth keeping in mind during the next round of immigration reform!