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Immigration Laws Summary


									                                               Chinese Exclusion Act
                                                    May 6, 1882
                                              (22 Statutes-at-Large 58)

                           An act to execute certain treaty stipulations relating to Chinese.

Preamble. Whereas, in the opinion of the Government of the United States the coming of Chinese laborers to this
country endangers the good order of certain localities within the territory thereof: Therefore,

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,
That from and after the expiration of ninety days next after the passage of this act, and until the expiration of ten
years next after the passage of this act, the coming of Chinese laborers to the United States be, and the same is
hereby, suspended; and during such suspension it shall not be lawful for any Chinese laborer to come, or, having so
come after the expiration of said ninety days, to remain within the United States…..

…SEC. 14. That hereafter no State court or court of the United States shall admit Chinese to citizenship; and all
laws in conflict with this act are hereby repealed….

Beginning in the 1840’s, large numbers of Chinese began coming to America. They were initially drawn to
California by the discovery of gold in 1848, and most planned to make enough money in the gold fields to go
home and purchase land. Once they arrived however, they faced discrimination and found it difficult, if not
impossible, to successfully mine for gold. Therefore many Chinese did other jobs, such as working in/running
restaurants, doing laundry, and any other menial work they could find. This resulted in many Americans
looking down on them for doing “women’s work”, and increased resentment among native-born white

In the 1860’s when construction on the Transcontinental Railroad began, Chinese workers supplied much of
the labor for the Central Pacific Railroad (the stretch of railroad running from California to Utah). The
work was difficult and very dangerous, as they had to work on cutting a path through the mountains for the

By the 1880’s, dislike of Chinese had spread throughout America. Most of the Chinese who came found
themselves unable to make the money they had dreamed of in order to go home. Americans at that time were
worried that if the Chinese were allowed to continue coming in, they would soon outnumber native-born
Americans. Therefore, after one failed attempt in 1879, the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 was successfully
passed. It almost completely banned immigration of Chinese into the United States, and marks the first time
in American history that a law was passed specifically to prevent a particular racial group from coming into
the United States.
                                               Act of February 20, 1907
                                               (34 Statutes-at-Large 898)

                             To Regulate the Immigration of Aliens into the United States

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,
That there shall be levied, collected, and paid a tax of four dollars for every alien entering the United States. The
said tax shall be paid to the collector at such port or customs district to which said alien shall come, or, if there be
no collector at such port or district then to the collector nearest thereto, by the master, agent, owner, or consignee of
the vessel, transportation line, or other conveyance or vehicle bringing such alien to the United States…

SEC. 2. That the following classes of aliens shall be excluded from admission into the United States: All idiots,
imbeciles, feebleminded persons, epileptics, insane persons, and persons who have been insane within five years
previous; persons who have had two or more attacks of insanity at any time previously; paupers; persons likely to
become a public charge; professional beggars; persons afflicted with tuberculosis or with a loathsome or dangerous
contagious disease; persons not comprehended within any of the foregoing excluded classes who are found to be and
are certified by the examining surgeon as being mentally or physically defective, such mental or physical defect
being of a nature which may affect the ability of such alien to earn a living; persons who have been convicted of or
admit having committed a felony or other crime or misdemeanor involving moral turpitude; polygamists, or persons
who admit their belief in the practice of polygamy, anarchists, or persons who believe in or advocate the overthrow
by force or violence of the Government of the United States, or of all government, or of all forms of law, or the
assassination of public officials; [persons coming for immoral purposes ;]……

SEC. 9. That it shall be unlawful for any person, including any transportation company other than railway lines
entering the United States from foreign contiguous territory, or the owner, master, agent, or consignee of any vessel
to bring to the United States any alien subject to any of the following disabilities: Idiots, imbeciles, epileptics, or
persons afflicted with tuberculosis or with a loathsome or dangerous contagious disease...

Sec. 36. That all aliens who shall enter the United States except at the seaports thereof, or at such place or places as
Secretary of Commerce and Labor may from time to time designate, shall be adjudged to have entered the country
unlawfully and shall be deported as provided in section twenty and twenty-one of this Act….

Sec. 38. That no person who disbelieves in or who is opposed to all organized government, or who is a member of or
affiliated with any organization entertaining and teaching such disbelief in or opposition to all organized government,
or who advocates or teaches the duty, necessity, or propriety of the unlawful assaulting or killing of any officer or
officers, either of specific individuals or of officers generally, of the Government of the United States or of any other
organized government, because of his or their official character, shall be permitted to enter the United States or any
territory or place subject to the jurisdiction thereof...

The Immigration Act of 1907 was a response to the fear among many Americans that the United States would
be flooded with mentally and physically ill immigrants, as well as immigrants who were incapable of taking
care of themselves.
                                         The Chinese Exclusion Repeal Act
                                                December 17, 1943
                                             (57 Statutes-at-Large 600)

         An Act to repeal the Chinese Exclusion Acts, to establish quotas, and for other purposes.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress
assembled, That the following Acts or parts of Acts relating to the exclusion or deportation of persons of
the Chinese race are hereby repealed:

May 6, 1882 (22 Stat. L. 58); July 5, 1884 (23 Stat. L. 115); September 13, 1888 (25 Stat. L. 476); October 1, 1888
(25 Stat. L. 504); May 5, 1892 (27 Stat. L. 25); November 3, 1893 (28 Stat. L. 7); that portion of section 1 of the Act
of July 7, 1898 (30 Stat. L. 750, 751)…..

The Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 remained in effect for over 60 years, and was renewed ten years after its
original passage. With the outbreak of World War II however, attitudes of Americans towards the Chinese
changed. China had been at war with Japan since 1937, and many Americans came to sympathize with the
Chinese as tales of Japanese atrocities in China made their way to the United States.

   Even before Japan attacked Pearl Harbor in 1941, volunteer American pilots (“The Flying Tigers”) were
 fighting against Japanese forces in China. After the bombing of Pearl Harbor, the United States and China
   were wartime allies. This resulted in the repeal of the Exclusion Act in 1943. The Chinese would now be
  allowed into the United States under the same existing quota system as applied to other immigrant groups.
                                           Emergency Quota Act of 1921
                                                  May 19, 1921
                                             (42 Statutes-at-Large 5)

                          AN ACT To limit the immigration of aliens into the United States.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

Sec. 2. (a) That the number of aliens of any nationality who may be admitted under the immigration laws to the
United States in any fiscal year shall be limited to 3 per centum of the number of foreign born persons of such
nationality resident in the United States as determined by the United States census of 1910. This provision shall not
apply to the following, and they shall not be counted in reckoning any of the percentage limits provided in this Act:
(1) Government officials, their families, attendants, servants, and employees; (2) aliens in continuous transit through
the United States; (3) aliens lawfully admitted to the United States who later go in transit from one part of the United
States to another through foreign contiguous territory; (4) aliens visiting the United States as tourists or temporarily
for business or pleasure; (5) aliens from countries immigration from which is regulated in accordance with treaties
or agreements relating solely to immigration; (6) aliens from the so-called Asiatic barred zone, as described in
section 3 of the Immigration Act; (7) aliens who have resided continuously for at least one year immediately
preceding the time of their admission to the United States in the Dominion of Canada, Newfoundland, the Republic
of Cuba, the Republic of Mexico, countries of Central or South America, or adjacent islands; or (8) aliens under the
age of eighteen who are children of citizens of the United States.

(b) For the purposes of this Act nationality shall be determined by country of birth, treating as separate countries the
colonies or dependencies for which separate enumeration was made in the United States census of 1910.

During World War I, the Russian Czar had been overthrown and he and his family murdered by Russian
communists led by Vladimir Lenin. After the war ended America underwent a transformation from a war to
a peacetime economy. This resulted in much unrest and economic problems, including high unemployment
as men came home from the war to find that there were few jobs available. To many people, this seemed to
be the perfect opportunity for communists and/or anarchists to attempt an overthrow of the United States
government. The nation went through a “Red Scare” during 1919-1920 where suspected communists were
hunted down and deported. Still, American lawmakers wanted to make sure that they would not allow more
troublemakers into the United States.

In order to prevent too many radicals and “un-American” people from coming into the United States,
Congress passed the Emergency Quota Act of 1921. This established a system whereby the number of people
coming in from any particular nation would be limited to 3% of the population of people from that nation
who were in the United States in 1910. For example, if the United States had 1000 people from Uzbekistan
living in the US in 1910, then only 30 people from Uzbekistan would be allowed into the US per year. Since
America was made up largely of white Anglo-Saxons, it was hoped that this would result in limiting people
from Eastern and Southern Europe from coming into the United States.
                                             Immigration Act of 1965
                                                  October 3, 1965
                                             (79 Statutes-at-Large 911)

                                                  AN ACT
                      To amend the Immigration and Nationality Act, and for other purposes.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,
That section 201 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (66 Stat. 175; 8 U.S.C. 1151) be amended to read as

Sec. 2. Section 202 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (66 Stat. 175; 8 U.S.C. 1152) is amended to read as
''(a) No person shall receive any preference or priority or be discriminated against in the issuance of an immigrant
visa because of his race, sex, nationality, place of birth, or place of residence, except as specifically provided in
section 101(a)(27), section 201(b), and section 203: Provided, That the total number of immigrant visas and the
number of conditional entries made available to natives of any single foreign state under paragraphs (1) through (8)
of section 203(a) shall not exceed 20,000 in any fiscal year: Provided further, That the foregoing proviso shall not
operate to reduce the number of immigrants who may be admitted under the quota of any quota area before June 30,

By the mid-1960’s, the civil rights movement in America was at its height. With African-Americans and
other groups demanding equal rights, many people in the government including President Lyndon B.
Johnson, believed that same equality should extend to immigration laws, and that the quota system
established in the 1920’s should be eliminated. Therefore Johnson supported and Congress passed the
Immigration Act of 1965, which finally eliminated the old quota system. This law had actually been proposed
by President Kennedy before his assassination in 1963, and his death may have given the law the support that
it needed to pass.
                                   Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986

The Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (IRCA) (P.L. 99-603, 100 Stat. 3359) amended the Immigration
and Nationality Act of 1952 to better control unauthorized immigration. Many members of Congress felt
immigration was "out of control" because legal and illegal immigration had come to account for approximately
thirty to fifty percent of U.S. population growth.

Congress determined the best way to control immigration was to take away the incentive to enter the United States
by preventing illegal immigrants from working or receiving government benefits. The Immigration Reform and
Control Act provides sanctions for knowingly hiring an employee who is not legally authorized to work. It requires
employers and states to check work authorization documents for every new employee or benefit applicant, including
U.S. citizens, and to complete a related form.

Many people were concerned that employer sanctions would lead to discrimination against legal immigrants or U.S.
citizens who appeared foreign. To prevent such discrimination, the IRCA imposed penalties on employers who
discriminated in this manner. The new employer sanctions, however, could cause great hardships for illegal
immigrants who had been living and working in the United States for many years. The IRCA provided a program
for certain illegal immigrants who had lived in the United States since at least January 1, 1982, to apply to become
legal residents with the right to work. A different program allowed seasonal agricultural workers to apply for legal
residency. Newly legal residents could eventually become citizens.

                                            The Alien and Sedition Acts

SECTION 1. Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America, in Congress
assembled, That it shall be lawful for the President of the United States, at any time during the continuance of this
act, to order all such aliens as he. shall judge dangerous to the peace and safety of the United States, or shall have
reasonable grounds to suspect are concerned in any treasonable or secret machinations against the government
thereof, to depart out of the territory of the United States within such time as shall be expressed in such order….

In the late 1790’s, it seemed that war with France was a possibility for the United States. The Federalists,
who controlled the government at that time, were worried not only about war with France but also the
possibility that a French-style revolution could occur within the United States. They also feared being
defeated politically by the Democratic-Republicans. In order to maintain order and keep their grip on power,
the Federalist-controlled Congress passed a series of laws that became known as the Alien and Sedition Acts.
The Alien Act (quoted above) gave the president permission to deport any alien he determined was
“dangerous” to the United States. Another of the laws, the Naturalization Act, increased the amount of time
that an immigrant had to live in the United States before becoming a citizen from five years to fourteen. It
was believed that since most immigrants tended to support the Democratic-Republicans, this would prevent
them from gaining more political power.

Although the Alien and Sedition Acts caused a great outcry when they were first passed, they eventually
faded away after the Democratic-Republicans won control of the government in the election of 1800. They
were allowed to expire by the new president, Thomas Jefferson.
                                         The Gentlemen’s Agreement (1907)
In 1907, the Gentlemen’s agreement between the United States and Japan was enacted. In this agreement,
Japan would no longer issue passports to Japanese emigrants and the United States would allow immigration
for only the wives, children and parents of current Japanese whom already reside in the United States. What
initiated this act was the fact that the San Francisco school board approved separate schools for the Japanese
students. This separation of Japanese students from American students enraged Japan, and in an attempt to
alleviate this problem, Japan promised to minimize the number of emigrants in order to change their image
of overpopulating America. The proponents of the act were California nativists who feared the Asian invasion
of the Japanese and wanted to stem their immigration by targeting their citizenship status as an attempt to
minimize their occupancy. However, the Gentlemen’s Agreement did just the opposite as it actually helped
grow the Japanese population because the act opened the door to picture brides which promoted family

America’s gaze of the Japanese was that of a foreign oriental country gaining power as a nation. During this
time, Japan had defeated the Russians in the Sino-Russo Japanese war which made Japan the first Asian
country to defeat a European country. This militaristic success changed the outlook America had on Japan as
a mediocre, primitive country transitioning into a developing nation. Japan was adopting westernized ideas
and customs and integrated them into their culture. With all of these traits combined, America viewed the
Japanese as an up-and-coming powerhouse nation, one that needs to be impeded in order for America to keep
its dominance. Also, Americans started to fear the Yellow Peril. The Yellow Peril was the fear that Japan
would expand into America taking over and implementing their dominance through culture and occupations.

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