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The Daily Agenda for Thursday, June 27

Jim Burroway

June 27th, 2013

TODAY’S AGENDA:
Pride Celebrations This Weekend: Albuquerque, NM; Bangor, ME; Barcelona, Spain; Cheyenne, WY; Chicago, IL; Cincinnati, OHCleveland, OH; Doncaster, UK; Dublin, Ireland; Finnmark, Norway; Harlem, NY; Helsinki, Finland; Houston, TX; Istanbul, Turkey; Lexington, KY; London, UK; London, UK (Black Pride); Malmö, Sweden; México, DF, México; Oslo, Norway; Paris, France; Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN; New York, NY; Oslo, Norway; St. Louis, Mo; St. Petersburg, FL; Salem, MASan Antonio, TX; San Francisco, CA; San José, Costa Rica; Sardinia, ItalySeattle, WA; Swansea, UK; Toronto, ONUtrecht, Netherlands; Valencia, Spain; Västerås, Sweden.

Other Events This Weekend: Frameline 37 Film Festival, San Francisco, CA; Pink Dot Festival, Singapore; Canadian Rockies International Rodeo, Strathmore, AB.

TODAY IN HISTORY:
The McCarren-Walter Immigration and Naturalization Act: 1952. It was sixty years ago today when Congress passed a major overhaul of the nation’s immigration laws, removing the previous quotas which excluded immigrants based on the country of origin, and instead barring those who were deemed unlawful, immoral, diseased in any way, politically radical, and accepting those who were willing to conform to prevailing American political thought. Crafted at the height of the McCarthy Red Scare, it was the political aspects which drove Congress to pass the act. For the next four decades, the U.S. government used the act to prevent hundreds of people each year from visiting the U.S solely because of their political beliefs and associations.

Political beliefs however weren’t the only litmus test the government used. One provision prohibited entry to “aliens afflicted with psychopathic personality, epilepsy, or a mental defect.” Since the American Psychiatric Association listed homosexuality as a mental defect, the Immigration and Naturalization Service took that to mean that gays and lesbians were to be barred from entry into the United States. Even after the APA removed homosexuality from its list of mental disorders, the INS continued to bar openly gay people from immigrating. As the years wore on, the ban was enforced haphazardly, but gay immigrants remained subject to deportation at the whim of an immigration judge. It wouldn’t be until the 1990 Immigration Act that homosexuality would be formally removed as grounds for exclusion. But by then, HIV had become the new basis for barring not just immigrants, but HIV-positive business people, HIV/AIDS advocates and even tourists from entering the U.S. for even a single day. That ban remained in place until 2010.

If you know of something that belongs on the agenda, please send it here. Don’t forget to include the basics: who, what, when, where, and URL (if available).

And feel free to consider this your open thread for the day. What’s happening in your world?

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