Laws Harsh as Tigers: Chinese Immigrants and the Shaping of Modern Immigration Law

By Lucy E. Salyer | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 2
Contesting Exclusion THE CHINESE AND THE ADMINISTRATORS

From the passage of the Chinese Exclusion Act in 1882 to its repeal in 1943, Chinese and federal administrative officials clashed over how the law should be interpreted and enforced. They were natural enemies with diametrically opposed goals: Chinese wanted to come to the United States as freely as possible while the federal officials attempted to restrict their entry. Frustration with the law on both sides fanned the dispute. Chinese resented the discriminatory law, described by one Chinese poet detained at Angel Island as a law "harsh as tigers."1 The federal administrators, however, repeatedly complained that the law was "probably the most difficult piece of legislation to enforce ever placed upon the statute books."2 If the law was a tiger, as the Chinese poet claimed, administrative officials thought its teeth dull and full of gaps.

Though apparently contradictory, both perspectives were grounded in reality; the law was both harsh and difficult to enforce. The law's severity stemmed in part from its discriminatory nature. By 1891 the Chinese were the only group of immigrants to be specifically excluded from the United States. American officials made it even more difficult for Chinese to enter through their stringent enforcement of the law. Yet officials did not find their task as America's gatekeepers simple or easy. Through protest, evasion, and, especially, persistent litigation, Chinese often thwarted the exclusion policy.

This chapter explores the contest between Chinese and administrative officials over the implementation of the exclusion laws. It analyzes the perspectives, goals, and organization of both groups, as well as the strategies they employed to pursue their objectives. One important Chinese

-37-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Laws Harsh as Tigers: Chinese Immigrants and the Shaping of Modern Immigration Law
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
/ 338

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.