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NAEEM MOHAIEMEN ON CITIZENSHIP

Mildred and Richard Loving at a press conference following their Supreme Court victory in the Loving v. Virginia case, Washington, DC, June 13, 1967. Photo: Francis Miller/Getty Images.

I OFTEN LOOK TO THE PAST as prologue to possible futures. This was especially true this January, which seemed like a moment of profound reversal.

I tried to think of past years as bookends as a way to look beyond the present. The first years are 1924 and 1967. The former was the year the Racial Integrity Act was passed, prohibiting interracial marriage, and the latter was Loving v. Virginia, the Supreme Court case that struck it down. Richard Loving, a bricklayer with a blond buzz cut, told his lawyers: “Tell the court I love my wife.” The Loving case was cited in 2013 as precedent in rulings striking down restrictions against same-sex marriage.

The second bookend is formed by 1924, again, and 1965. The Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 finally removed the quotas imposed by the National Origins Act and Asian Exclusion Act of 1924. For over forty years, that law restricted

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