No country on earth has absorbed immigrants in greater numbers or variety or has done more to incorporate them into the national culture than the United States. Since 1820, when records were first kept, America has officially admitted more than sixty million foreigners, and that does not count the large numbers who arrived illegally. To a large degree, however, the swelling ranks of immigrants have for a long time been a direct consequence of revised legislation in the United States itself. Particularly instrumental was the 1965 Immigration Act, which shifted the basis of entry from national origin to family reunification. For a long time, Americans barely took notice. Then a reaction came that was ultimately to lead to a virtual national backlash. In the early 1990s, recession struck, and immigrants were increasingly being seen as unwanted people who were taking jobs that rightly belonged to Americans.