Journalist Zaid Jilani criticizes NYT's 1619 Project

Journalist Zaid Jilani said on Hill.TV that the Pulitzer Prize-winning 1619 Project from The New York Times misconstrues the civil rights movement’s role in reforming the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) of 1965.

“The civil rights movement was quite tertiary to the passage of this law, it wasn’t the main priority for them,” he said. “The passage of the law wasn’t about race at all. In the 1619 Project they say the law upended the racist quota system, but actually, it wasn’t based on race, it was based on national origin.”

In Jilani’s article for The American Conservative, he argues that activists from other backgrounds -- Eastern Europen, Italian, Jewish, Greek and Asian American -- were the main groups that lobbied for reforms that led to the INA.

"For decades, the people who agitated for the change in that law were not Black and brown people at all,” he said.