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Fall 2004
A Publication of the St. Louis Public Library

Vol. 4   No. 3

A History of "Asian Exclusion" Legislation, Treaties, and Court Decisions Concerning Chinese Immigrants

1835 U.S. & China sign first treaty.
1850 California imposes Foreign Miner's Tax, enforcing it mainly against Chinese miners who often have to pay more than once.
1852 Chinese people first appear in court in California.
1854 People v. Hall rules that Chinese people can't give testimony in court.
1858 California passes a law to bar entry of Chinese and "Mongolian" people.
1862 California imposes a "police tax" of $2.50 a month on every Chinese person.
1868 U.S. & China sign Burlingame-Seward Treaty recognizing rights of their citizens to emigrate.
1870 California passes a law against the importation of Chinese, Japanese & "Mongolian" women for prostitution.
1872 California's Civil Procedure Code drops law barring Chinese court testimony.
1875 Page Law bars entry of Chinese, Japanese & "Mongolian" prostitutes, felons & contract laborers.
1878 In re Ah Yup rules Chinese persons not eligible for naturalized citizenship.
1879 California's second Constitution prevents municipalities & corporations from employing Chinese individuals. California State Legislature passes law requiring all incorporated towns & cities to remove Chinese persons outside of city limits, but U.S. Circuit Court declares the law unconstitutional.
1880 U.S. & China sign treaty giving the U.S. the right to limit but "not absolutely prohibit" Chinese immigration.
1882 Chinese Exclusion Law suspends immigration of laborers for 10 years.
1884 Chinese Exclusion Law amended to require a certificate as the only permissible evidence for reentry.
1888 Scott Act renders 20,000 Chinese reentry certificates null & void.
1889 Chae Chan Ping v. U.S. upholds constitutionality of Chinese exclusion laws.
1892 Geary Law renews exclusion of Chinese laborers for another 10 years & requires all Chinese individuals to register. Fong Yue Ting v. U.S. upholds constitutionality of Geary Law.
1898 Wong Kim Ark v. U.S. decides that Chinese individuals born in the U.S. can't be stripped of their citizenship.
1902 Chinese exclusion extended for another 10 years.
1904 Chinese exclusion made indefinite & applicable to U.S. insular possessions.
1905 Section 60 of California's Civil Code amended to forbid marriage between whites & "Mongolians."
1913 California passes Alien Land Law prohibiting "aliens ineligible to citizenship" from buying land or leasing it for longer than three years.
1917 Arizona passes an Alien Land Law.
1918 Servicemen of Asian ancestry who served in American Armed Forces during World War I receive right of naturalization.
1921 Washington & Louisiana pass Alien Land Laws.
1922 New Mexico passes an Alien Land Law. Cable Act declares that any American female citizen who marries "an alien ineligible to citizenship" would lose her citizenship.
1923 Idaho, Montana & Oregon pass Alien Land Laws.
1924 Immigration Act denies entry to virtually all Asians.
1931 Amendment to Cable Act declares that no American-born woman who loses her citizenship by marrying an alien ineligible for citizenship can be denied the right of naturalization at a later date.
1943 Congress repeals all Chinese exclusion laws, grants right of naturalization & a small immigration quota to Chinese.
1947 Amendment to 1945 War Brides Act allows Chinese-American veterans to bring brides into the U.S.
1949 5,000 highly educated Chinese people in the U.S. granted refugee status after China institutes a Communist government.
1956 California repeals its Alien Land Laws.
1965 Immigration Law abolishes "national origins" as basis for allocating immigration quotas to various countries. Asian countries are now on equal footing.
1979 Resumption of diplomatic relations between the People's Republic of China & the United States of America reunites many members of long-separated Chinese-American families.

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