The New York Times’ Jia Lynn Yang on the Ebb and Flow of Immigration
A deputy national editor at The New York Times, Jia Lynn Yang is the author of a timely new book, One Mighty and Irresistible Tide: The Epic Struggle Over American Immigration, 1924–1965 (W.W. Norton & Co.). The book begins at a dark moment in American immigration policy, when a restrictive law ended a long period of relatively open borders and effectively stopped mass movement to the United States for the next 40 years. It tells the story of the decadeslong process that led the U.S. to begin accepting foreigners once again. Yet almost nobody involved in that fight foresaw the extent to which the 1965 law finally signed by President Lyndon B. Johnson would open the door to large numbers of new immigrants, including Yang’s family.
Reason‘s Nick Gillespie sat down with Yang first in March and then again in May after the COVID-19 pandemic began to have a major effect on U.S. immigration policy. Among other things, it prompted President Donald Trump to temporarily halt legal migration and led to a delay in asylum hearings on the Mexican border.
Q: You have a personal connection to immigration, particularly the laws of the period that your book covers. What is it?
A: My family would not be here if not for the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965. When I began working on this whole project, I’d never heard of the law, never been taught it in high school or college. I had just been told—like, I think, a lot of American families—the gauzy story of how we ended up here at all. Basically, my family’s from China. After the civil war and the Communists won in 1949, my grandparents left for Taiwan, like a lot of other refugees. My parents grew up there and then came to the U.S. in the ’60s and ’70s for college and grad school.
Q: Talk about American immigration policy from the beginning of the republic up through the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act.
A: Our immigrat
Article from Latest – Reason.com