An Associated Press piece by one Russell Contreras, published August 29th, pretty much spells it out. The article, entitled KENNEDY HELPED CHANGE DEMOGRAPHICS OF US AS TIRELESS ADVOCATE FOR IMMIGRANTS begins thusly :
Before 1965, Leticia Hermosa had little chance of crossing the Pacific to the U.S. from the Philippines. Hermosa, a nurse, and others like her just couldn't get through the strict U.S. immigration quota system, which favored Western Europeans and essentially excluded those from Asia and Latin America. But after Sen. Edward Kennedy pushed through the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965, the door opened for her to immigrate in 1973 to Boston, where she eventually finished school, got a law degree and became a U.S. citizen. On Thursday, Hermosa stood in line with thousands of others at the John F. Kennedy Library and Museum to pay her respects to the late senator. "If it wasn't for him, I wouldn't be here today," said the 55-year-old Hermosa, who now lives in Westwood, Mass.
You can already tell there the article is going. One quibble, however - legally, immigration from Latin America was already unlimited under the previous 1924 immigration law, though in practice it wasn't high until after the 1965 Act. Anyway, the next paragraph says that :
As the nation mourns Kennedy, who died this week of a brain tumor at age 77, historians and immigrant advocates are remembering the senator— perhaps more than any other—as championing legislation that directly benefited immigrants, their children and their grandchildren. The 1965 law that he sponsored fundamentally changed the demographics of the country and transformed many urban enclaves into majority-minority cities.
Yes, that's true. But did the American people ever choose such a demographic transformation? No they didn't. As a matter of fact, back in 1965, Senator Kennedy assured us it wouldn't happen. During the Senate floor debate, Kennedy assured his fellow lawmakers (and the nation) that
First, our cities will not be flooded with a million immigrants annually. Under the proposed bill, the present level of immigration remains substantially the same.... Secondly, the ethnic mix of this country will not be upset.... Contrary to the charges in some quarters, [the bill] will not inundate America with immigrants from any one country or area, or the most populated and deprived nations of Africa and Asia.... In the final analysis, the ethnic pattern of immigration under the proposed measure is not expected to change as sharply as the critics seem to think.... The bill will not flood our cities with immigrants. It will not upset the ethnic mix of our society. It will not relax the standards of admission. It will not cause American workers to lose their jobs.
All of these things Kennedy said wouldn't happen did in fact happen. Now, back to the AP article:
Political observers say Kennedy's most lasting legacy may be the rarely mentioned 1965 immigration law. Before its passage, a national origins quota system was in place to mirror the largely white-ancestral makeup of the U.S. Rep. Charles A. Gonzalez, D-Texas, whose late father, Henry, served in Congress and worked with Kennedy on the legislation, said the bill would not have passed without Kennedy. "He was huge and instrumental," Gonzalez said. "There's no way you can describe the importance of his involvement. He put all of his talents to make it work."
And the results ?
In 1965, the U.S. was around 85 percent white, according to various estimates. Today, a third of the country is minority, and nonwhites are on track to become the majority sometime in the 2040s. Minority populations have grown by leaps and bounds because of high birth rates among those first generations of immigrants and a steady flow from Latin America, Asian and Africa since. Some political observers even credit the election of President Barack Obama to the political maturation of those populations.
So when did America's white majority decide to become minority ?