The flood in recent decades of Asian immigrants to the U.S. was planned by no one, and would likely have been forestalled had a lingeringly racist Congress foreseen it. Indeed, the Hart-Celler Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 was a collective failure of colossal magnitude in demographic forecasting. The miscalculations were threefold: the actual volume of immigration far exceeded the projected—and desired—level; most of the immigrants came not from Europe as expected, but from the Third World; and of the Third World entrants a high and rising proportion turned out to be Asians who, at the time of the bill’s enactment, were decidedly the least-wanted immigrants.
Thus, from an aggregate of 153,000 in 1951-60, the volume of immigrants from Asia bounded to 428,000 in 1971-80 and is certain to exceed 2.5 million in 1981-90. (By 1988, the last data available, 2.1 million had already been admitted.) Asia, which had accounted for only 6 percent of all admittees in the 50′s, hit 14 percent in the 60′s, 30 percent in the 70′s, and 46 percent in the late 80′s.
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