One of the primary visual factors that helped shape American society in the postwar era was the increasing pace of new arrivals from abroad. As restrictions on immigration were loosened after World War II, millions of immigrants began to arrive from all over the world. Although the majority came from Latin America, substantial numbers came from China, Vietnam, and the countries of southern Asia. By 2003, people of Hispanic origin surpassed African Americans as the largest minority in the country. Although illegal immigration—especially from Mexico and the Caribbean islands—became a controversial issue in American politics, there was little doubt that the face of America was changing rapidly. Whether the country’s traditional role as a “melting pot”—integrating new arrivals into the mainstream of American society—can continue to function remains to be seen.