Archive for 'U.S. House'
The Refugee Act of 1980 is now on temporary display in the West Gallery of the National Archives Building.
At the end of the Vietnam War, hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese and Cambodians fled political chaos and physical danger in their homelands. Between 1975 and 1979, some 300,000 of these refugees were admitted to the United States through Presidential action. The law at the time restricted refugee admissions, and many members of Congress wanted to establish a more regular system of immigration and resettlement.
The Refugee Act of 1980 raised the annual ceiling for refugees to 50,000, created a process for reviewing and adjusting the refugee ceiling to meet emergencies, and required annual consultation between Congress and the President. The law changed the definition of “refugee” to a person with a “well-founded fear of persecution,” a standard established by United Nations conventions and protocols. It also funded a new Office of U.S. Coordinator for Refugee Affairs and an Office of Refugee Resettlement and built on already existing public-private partnerships that helped refugees settle and adjust to … [ Read all ]
Today’s post comes from Rebecca Brenner, an intern in the History Office at the National Archives in Washington, D.C.
Fifty years ago on October 3, 1965, at the base of the Statue of Liberty, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Immigration Act of 1965 into law.
The act was an important milestone in American immigration history. It was a significant improvement from the National Origins Act of 1924, which barred Asian immigrants, limited Latin American immigrants, and established rigid immigration quotas for European countries.
These quotas, established in an era of post–World War I isolationism and xenophobia, lasted from 1924 through 1965:
- Armenia: 124
- Australia: 121
- Austria: 785
- Belgium: 512
- Czechoslovakia: 3,073
- Estonia: 124
- France: 3,954
- Germany: 51,227
- Great Britain and Northern Ireland: 34,007
- Hungary: 473
- Irish Free State: 28,567
- Italy: 3,845
- Latvia: 142
- Lithuania: 344
- Netherlands: 1,648
- Norway: 6,453
- Poland: 5,962
- Russia: 2,248
- Sweden: 9,561
- Switzerland: 2,081
- Yugoslavia: 671
Aliens needed to apply for spots on the quota in their country of birth, regardless of where they and their family lived. Some quota waiting lists were a dozen years long, while others were not filled.
The Immigration Act of 1965 abolished this quota system and eliminated the formally racial character of immigration to the United States.
The act aimed … [ Read all ]
Posted by Jessie Kratz on September 17, 2015, under - The 1960s, News and Events, U.S. House, U.S. Senate.
Tags: exhibits, featured exhibits, immigration, Lyndon B. Johnson, naturalization, naturalization ceremony
Today’s post comes from Rebecca Brenner, an intern in the National Archives History Office in Washington, D.C.
July marks the 25th anniversary of the historic moment when President George H. W. Bush signed the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
The ADA prohibits employers, the government, and transportation, among other agencies and institutions, from discriminating against people with disabilities on the basis of their disabilities.
On July 26, 1990, a White House press release stated: “The American people have once again given clear expression to our most basic ideals of freedom and equality.”
Like other movements for freedom and equality, the disability community endured years of discrimination before the ADA established their equality under the law.
However, even before 1990, 1973 marked a turning point, when Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act banned discrimination against people with disabilities in the allocation of Federal funds. Previous antidiscrimination laws regarding race, ethnicity, and gender influenced this new legislation.
This law helped to build solidarity among people with different disabilities, and from 1973 through 1990, the disability community battled against trends of general deregulation across the government.
Finally, on July 26, 1990, the ADA established “a clear and … [ Read all ]
Today’s post comes from Tom Eisinger, senior archivist at the Center for Legislative Archives in Washington, DC.
When Richard O’Bryen, captain of the Philadelphia ship Dauphin, penned his July 12, 1790, letter to Thomas Jefferson, he had been a captive of the Barbary pirates in Algeria for almost five years.
This letter, and others, helped bring attention to an unexpected problem the Federal Government inherited from the government under the Articles of Confederation: pirates.
The new nation was faced with the questions: What could be done about the Barbary pirates? And what could be done for the American prisoners held for ransom in Algeria?
In the late 18th century, the Barbary pirates were a well-known problem in Europe. These pirates—who came from Morocco, Algiers, Tripoli, and Tunisia—captured vessels sailing in the Mediterranean Sea and held their crews for ransom.
To free a captured vessel, European nations were forced to pay the ransom. Some European nations signed treaties with the four Barbary nations and paid tribute for safe passage of their vessels.
The Barbary pirates were not an issue for the American colonies while they were under the protection of the British Empire or during the Revolutionary War while they were under the protection of France. However, … [ Read all ]
Today’s post, in honor of Flag Day, comes from Alex Nieuwsma, an intern in the National Archives History Office.
On June 14, 1777, the Second Continental Congress officially adopted the Stars and Stripes as the National Flag of the United States of America. Through its many changes and iterations, the American flag has come to represent the physical geography of the nation by including as many stars as states, as well as a remembrance of the nation’s origins as seen in the 13 red and white stripes.
The American flag also serves as a reminder of what America and her citizens represent: liberty, equality, and justice.
Designed by Francis Hopkinson, one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, the flag was originally intended to be used as a naval sign. However, growing nationalism around the world during the 18th century led many countries to establish a national flag, the United States included. It is unclear how or why Congress selected Hopkinson’s design for this honor.
The involvement of Betsy Ross in the design and creation of the first American flag is largely fictitious. It is likely that her grandson, William J. … [ Read all ]