The Immigration Act was enacted in the year 1990 and was signed by then-President Bush. It was a nationwide improvement of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965. It increased total, overall immigration to allow 700,000 immigrants to come to the U.S. per year for the fiscal years 1992–94, and 675,000 per year after that. In this article we will be providing a brief summary of the said Act 1990.
- The Act provided for five different kinds of employment-built visa’s,
- It provided citizenships exclusively to those citizens who have been migrated from countries that are less represented in the United States.
- The act also lifted the English testing process for naturalization that had been imposed in the Naturalization Act of 1906for permanent residents who are over 55 and have been living in the United States for fifteen years as a permanent resident,
- The main object of the Act was to provide a decree of modification to the degree and preference structure for admittance of immigrants to the United States, and to make available for governmental naturalization.
- Decreased the number of people who could immigrated to United States, (Refer Section 358),
- However, the Act did not apply or extend to any kind of refugees.
The law also divided the immigration limit into distinct categories. For fiscal years 1992 through 1994, the following limits applied:
- 465,000 visas for family-related immigration
- 140,000 visas for employment-related immigration
- 55,000 visas for immediate relatives of immigrants granted amnesty
- 40,000 visas for immigrants from “adversely affected” countries
In fiscal year 1995 and thereafter, the following limits applied:
- 480,000 visas for family-related immigration
- 140,000 visas for employment-related immigration
- 55,000 Diversity Lottery
All the Immigration Acts that kept coming into force prioritized family reunification. The same has been highlighted even in the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965. The 1990 Act expanded the number of family-based immigration visas allotted per year to 480,000 but also made the definition of family more exclusive by limiting it to immediate family members.
Important Key Points of the Act
The Act generally retained the preference for family reunification immigration but placed additional emphasis on employment-related immigration and created a category of immigrants from countries underrepresented in the immigrant pool.
- Created the diversity immigrant category for immigrants from underrepresented countries (those with fewer than 50,000 immigrants admissions over the preceding five years); since fiscal year 1995 this category (later called the Diversity Immigrant Visa category) has been allocated 55,000 visas each year.
- Granted Temporary Protected Status for Salvadorians fleeing violence in the Salvadoran Civil War
- Provided for the hiring of 1,000 additional S. Border Patrol agents, increased penalties for violations of immigration law, and expedited deportation proceedings.
- Amended the “medical exclusion” provisions of the Immigration and National Act to eliminate text that let agents exclude “suspected homosexuals” and removed the psychopathic personality and mental defect language that had been used for decades to exclude suspected homosexuals.
Inadmissibility of Admission of Immigrants under the Act
The Immigration Statute has enumerated numerous grounds on which non-citizens could be denied an admission or access to live in the United States of America. By 1990, there were additional grounds that exceeded 30 reasons for exclusion. They are listed below:
- “Health-related reasons,
- Criminal- related reasons,
- Security-related reasons,
- Being a “public charge”, i.e., likely to become dependent on the government assistance,
- Relating to labor certification and qualifications,
- Relating to illegal entry and immigration violations,
- Relating to immigration document requirements,
- Relating to falsely claiming U.S. citizenship, and
- Miscellaneous grounds.”
After the passage of the Act, many Amendments were done, new Acts were enforced replacing the previous rules and Orders. The most prominent provisions were from the Acts that allowed increased the admission of immigrants in the United States of America.
 "Highlights of the U.S. Immigration Act of 1990".  Mentioned under Section "S.358 - 101st Congress (1989-1990): Immigration Act of 1990"  Immigration Act of 1990 - Ballotpedia  Refer the above footnote.  "The Immigration Act of 1990"  "Immigration Act (United States) (1990)" in John Powell, Encyclopedia of North American Immigration (Facts on File, 2005), p. 138.  Ruth Ellen Wasem, "Diversity Immigrant Visa Lottery Issues", Congressional Research Service (April 1, 2011), Report no. R41747.  Susan F. Marti, A Nation of Immigrants (Cambridge University Press, 2011), p. 245.  Amy Baumann Grau, "U.S. Border Patrol" in Undocumented Immigrants in the United States: An Encyclopedia of Their Experience, Vol. I: A-J (ed. Anna Ochoa O'Leary: Greenwood, 2014), p. 737.  Atticus Lee, "Sexual Deviants need Not Apply: LGBTQ Oppression in the 1965 Immigration Amendments" in The Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965: Legislating a New America (ed. Gabriel J. Chin & Rose Cuison Villazor: Cambridge University Press, 2015), p. 267.  *The Immigration Act of 1990: Unfinished Business a Quarter-Century Later (migrationpolicy.org)