New Americans, Continuing Debates, 1965–2000

The United States experienced a resurgence in immigration after passing the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 (Hart-Celler Act). Improved transportation and communication technologies allowed people to live in this nation while still staying connected to their country of origin. New immigrants had much in common with those who came before: they sought better economic opportunities, greater freedoms, and safer lives. Likewise, they sometimes faced issues of equality and inclusion.

The tour continues on the next wall after the corner.

Southwest Borderlands: Confluence and Conflict

Southwest Borderlands: Confluence and Conflict

The United States and Mexico have shaped each other’s borders, identities, and cultures over hundreds of years. The U.S.-Mexico border is often portrayed today as a site of sharp political and ethnic divisions. Yet shared history, commerce, and labor contribute to the rich and dynamic culture along the nearly two-thousand-mile border.

Dynamic Border Culture

The land around the U.S.-Mexico border has been defined by interactions among multiple cultural groups, including Native Americans, Mexicans, white settlers, and migrants from around the globe. It is an area where cultures and identities are created, blended, and negotiated.

Car hood, Chimayó, New Mexico, 1991

La Virgen

The Virgin of Guadalupe is a religious icon that takes on special cultural significance in the U.S.-Mexico borderlands. La Virgen symbolizes empowerment for mestizos, those of mixed indigenous and European descent. The frequently used icon blends culture, racial identity, and religious devotion.

The tour continues to the right.

Working Across Nations

Working Across Nations

The 1965 Hart-Celler Act provided for the issuing of special O-1 visas for skilled workers, encouraging professionals to emigrate. The new legislation led to an increased number of professionals arriving from India and other countries. Debates continue about guest workers and how they affect competition for jobs in the United States.

In the 21st century, people of South and East Asia have become one of the largest immigrant groups. Some arrive as doctors, engineers, and highly trained workers. Many contribute knowledge, skills, and resources to innovate technologies in the United States and in their countries of origin.

Transnational Work

In 1974 Raj Vattikuti emigrated from India to Detroit as a student. After working in the automotive industry he started his own business training technology professionals in India for U.S. markets. After many years of success he and his wife, Padma, founded a charitable organization to advance medical research in the United States and abroad.

Complete Business Solutions International Award, 1995

Raj Vattikuti receiving CBSI Award while his wife looks on, 1995

Find the next stop on our tour directly behind you.

Immokalee Statue of Liberty, 2000

Marching with Liberty

In 2000 agricultural activists carried this contemporary interpretation of the Statue of Liberty on a two-week, 230-mile March for Dignity, Dialogue, and a Fair Wage. The protest was organized in Florida by the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW). The CIW brought together diverse, interracial groups including agricultural workers, environmentalists, and community organizers, to negotiate for better working conditions and higher wages in the agricultural industry.

Coalition of Immokalee Workers protesting for higher wages, 2000

The conclusion of the exhibition is on both sides of the exit.

Out of Many, One

Out of Many, One

Leave Your Handprint


Out of many
… voices
… stories
… lives

We become U.S.