Mid 1900's US Immigration Trends 1940 - 1970: WW2
The outbreak of World War 2 (1939 - 1945) impacted the first years of mid 1900's US Immigration Trends. World War Two created a severe labor shortage when American men were drafted into the military. After the United States entered World War II at the end of 1941, the federal government made its immigration laws less restrictive, particularly for citizens of the country’s wartime allies China, India and the Philippines and for workers from Mexico. In 1943 the Magnusan Act repealed the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act and the same year saw the introduction of the Bracero program with Mexico.
Mid 1900's US Immigration Trends: The 1943 Bracero Program
The Bracero Program (1943 - 1965) encouraged Mexican guest workers to take jobs in the United States and Mexican migration rapidly increased. In 1942 the United States made a temporary inter-governmental agreement for the use of Mexican agricultural labor on United States farms. In 1943 the Bracero Program brought 5,000,000 temporary Mexican Laborers to Work in US farms and also on the railroads during, and after, WW2. The temporary the Bracero Program was to last for 22 years and farm wages dropped sharply.
Mid 1900's US Immigration Trends: Post WW2 Trends
President Harry Truman issued a directive in 1945 that loosened quota restrictions on immigration to the US of persons displaced by the German Nazi regime. The 1948 Displaced Persons Act enabled the immigration of 400,000 displaced persons to America. The nation saw a welcome increase to economic growth and prospects in the U.S. attracted many migrants. Improvements in land and air travel decreased the cost of travel and made migration feasible for many more people. The stringent barriers to immigration in the U.S. as a result of the 1924 National Quota Act were lowered and new migration to the U.S. came not from Europe, but primarily from Latin America and Asia.
Mid 1900's US Immigration Trends: The Korean War
The involvement of the U.S. military in the Korean War (1950 - 1953) and once again there was a shortage of labor in the United States. The strong military, economic and political links between the United States and South Korea resulted in an increase in the number of Korean immigrants. During the period between 1950 and 1964, approximately 15,000 South Koreans immigrated to the United States.
Mid 1900's US Immigration Trends: Operation Wetback
The Korean War saw a resurgence of the Bracero Program and the trend towards Mexican immigration once again increased. In 1954 the trend reversed as Operation Wetback came into force during which time the U.S. Immigration Service deported more than 3.8 million people of Mexican heritage.
Mid 1900's US Immigration Trends 1940 - 1970: The Cold War Era
The Korean War (1950 - 1953) heralded the beginning of the Cold War era and communism was seen as a serious threat to US democracy. In 1952 the McCarran-Walter bill reorganized the structure of immigration laws to block any spread of communism and to deny immigration of any enemies of the US during WWII such as Japan into the country. The 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis erupted and the Vietnam War (1959 - 1975) was fought as part of the U.S. attempt to prevent the spread of communism
Mid 1900's US Immigration Trends: The 1965 Immigration and Nationality Act
President John F. Kennedy strongly advocated the reform the U.S. immigration laws and passed the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 aka the Hart-Cellar Act. The act was a major landmark in U.S. immigration law that radically changed the quota system. The new system allowed immigrants into America based on family ties and special skills. There were still limits on immigrants from the Eastern Hemisphere but no 'per-country' limits were placed on immigrants from the Western Hemisphere. Large masses of immigrants from Asian and Hispanic countries rose dramatically and the new system had a major effect on on Mexico. Without quotas there was a long waiting list of Mexicans wanting to immigrate into the United States.