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Cold War Refugees and Rutgers

Cold War Refugees and the Rutgers Community

Lesson Summary

Since the repeal of the National Origins Act in 1965, the demographic makeup of immigrants in the United States has shifted markedly; immigrants of European descent have largely given way to those arriving from Asia and Latin America. Coupled with this change are the motivational differences between contemporary immigrants and those of the previous decades. Whereas immigrants today are largely comprised of individuals and families seeking economic opportunity, it must not be forgotten that the need for political freedom and human security created much of the immigrant influx to the United States during the Cold War. What was the experience of these Cold War refugees?

Using the experience of Hungarian refugees in New Jersey as a case study, this lesson seeks to (1) identify the struggles faced by Hungarian refugees in a New Jersey community, (2) examine the reaction of this community to the arrival of Hungarian refugees and (3) challenge each student to consider the experience of Iraqi immigrants in the United States in the wake of the Iraq war.


Migration Policy Institute — Top 10 Countries of Immigration

1965 Immigration and Nationality Act