Legislative efforts were made to ban Chinese immigration, and in 1879 Congress passed a bill to that effect. It was vetoed, however, by President Hayes on the grounds that it violated the Burlingame Treaty. In 1880 a new treaty with China was concluded; it allowed the United States to regulate, limit, or suspend the entry of Chinese labor, but not to prohibit it. In 1882, however, the Chinese Exclusion Act banned immigration of Chinese laborers for 10 years. As was the case with previous discriminatory acts, this legislation was met by protests from Chinese residents, and for the next decade more than 7,000 lawsuits were filed, the majority of which were won by the Chinese litigants. Some of the later acts (1888 and 1892, which required that Chinese immigrants carry an identity card or face deportation) were flat violations of the 1880 treaty. A new treaty was signed in 1894 by which China agreed to the exclusion of Chinese laborers for 10 years. When that period expired, Congress continued the exclusion unilaterally until the immigration law of 1924 excluded, in effect, all Asians. In 1943 the acts were repealed when a law was signed setting an annual immigration quota of 105 and extending citizenship privileges to Chinese immigrants. The quota was abolished in 1965.
See R. D. McKenzie, Oriental Exclusion (1928); S. C. Miller, The Unwelcome Immigrant (1969); B. L. Sung, The Story of the Chinese in America (1971); J. Pfaelzer, Driven Out: The Forgotten War against Chinese Americans (2007).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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