The objective of the thesis was to explore and interpret the theories of the new assimilation canon and the assimilation processes of non-white immigrants, and then primarily the Asian immigrants who arrived after the introduction of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965. The act abolished the discriminatory national origins quota system which had been established with the Immigration Act of 1924, and opened the doors to immigration from all over the world. By introducing a family reunification clause, the shapers of the bill intended to maintain the racial composition in the country, as they predicted that immigration would primarily keep arriving from Europe. However, their predictions proved wrong, and instead one saw an increasing number of immigrants from Asia. The family reunification clause would come to foster chain migration from these shores, and consequently, the racial composition in the United States started to change as well.
As it became evident that the ethnic composition in America was in the process of drastically transforming, questions were raised regarding the possibilities of assimilating non-white groups into the American mainstream. Not until the 1990s did there appear significant assimilation theories which tried to include non-white people. This thesis considers the new assimilation debate from left to right, by primarily looking at the works of Peter D. Salins, Richard Alba and Victor Nee, and Samuel P. Huntington. Alba and Nee s theory of a remaking of the mainstream is the basis for this thesis, as it is one of the most significant studies of assimilation in forty years. In addition to assimilation theories, the thesis considers the history of post-1965 immigration, and the assimilation process in practice, both in general and by considering the second wave of Asian immigration. As the Immigration Act of 1965 came to change the racial composition of the United States, the American mainstream would necessarily come to change as well. The non-white, foreign-born population has the opportunity to gradually assimilate as members of the mainstream. The new assimilation theories include and acknowledge these groups of people, while the new immigrants themselves make an effort to participate in the American economical-, cultural-, and civic life.