Entry Denied: Exclusion and the Chinese Community in America, 1882-1943

Entry Denied: Exclusion and the Chinese Community in America, 1882-1943

Entry Denied: Exclusion and the Chinese Community in America, 1882-1943

Entry Denied: Exclusion and the Chinese Community in America, 1882-1943

Synopsis

In 1882, Congress passed a Chinese exclusion law that barred the entry of Chinese laborers for ten years. The Chinese thus became the first people to be restricted from immigrating into the United States on the basis of race. Exclusion was renewed in 1892 and 1902 and finally made permanent in 1904. Only in 1943 did Congress rescind all the Chinese exclusion laws as a gesture of goodwill towards China, an ally of the United States during World War II. Entry Denied is a collection of essays on how the Chinese exclusion laws were implemented and how the Chinese as individuals and as a community in the U.S. mobilized to mitigate the restrictions imposed upon them. It is the first book in English to rely on Chinese language sources to explore the exclusion era in Chinese American history.

Excerpt

About half the people immigrating to the United States today are from Asia, but historically Asians represented only a tiny fraction of the nation's immigrants. Before 1965, of the more than fifty million people from other lands who came to the United States, Asians numbered only about one million. But since 1965, when Congress reformed the country's immigration laws, approximately five million Asians have arrived as quota and nonquota immigrants and as refugees.

One reason that relatively few Asian immigrants came before 1965 is that four of the major groups -- the Chinese, Japanese, Asian Indians, and Filipinos -- were each excluded by law two or three decades after their initial arrival. Chinese began coming in sizable numbers during the California gold rush, but as anti-Chinese sentiments and activities increased, Congress passed a series of exclusion laws between 1882 and 1904 to bar Chinese laborers. The manner in which these laws were implemented also made it well-nigh impossible for other occupational groups to enter. Japanese immigration began in 1885 and was curtailed in stages. Under the 1907 Gentlemen's Agreement reached between American and Japanese diplomats, Japan stopped . . .

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