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  Web Editor:

Vernellia R. Randall
Professor of Law
The University of Dayton





Affecting Asian Pacific Americans

1798 Alien Act
1844 Treaty of Kanagawa or Peace, Amnesty and Commerce-first Sino-American treaty; established formal relations with China; gave the United States unilateral rights
1858 Yedo Treaty-Treaty of Commerce and Navigation ; Treaty of Tientsin-Chinese government agreed to prohibit permanent emigration; reversed in 1959
1862 An Act to Protect Free White Labor Against Competition with Chinese Coolie Labor and to Discourage the Immigration of the Chinese into the State of California, April 26, 1862
1868 Burlingame-Seward Treaty-United States and China agreed to trade, travel, and residence rights for each other's citizens; still prohibited naturalization; additional articles to Sino-American treaty of 1858
1875 U.S. Congress passed first law  (The Page Law) excluding certain categories of aliens (e.g., convicts and prostitutes); declared all earlier state laws regarding immigration unconstitutional
1876 Reciprocity treaty between Kingdom of Hawaii and United States
1878 In re Ah Yup rules Chinese ineligible for naturalized citizenship
1880 Sino-American treaty revised-Chinese government limited immigration of laborers in exchange for U.S. protection of those here 
1882 Chinese Exclusion Act prohibited immigration of Chinese contract laborers for ten years; subsequently renewed; prohibited naturalization 
1884 Increased restrictions on Chinese here and those seeking reentry -wives barred; anti miscegenation laws
1885 Congress banned contract labor
1882 Treaty of Chemulpo (Treaty of Amity and Commerce) started diplomatic relations between United States and Korea, which allowed Korean immigration to United States
1888 Scott Act prohibited immigration of virtually all Chinese, including those who had gone back to China to visit
1889 Chinese exclusion case (Chae Chan Ping v. United States) - Supreme Court ruled that an entire race that the government deemed difficult to assimilate might be barred from entry regardless of prior treaty
1892 Geary Act extended exclusion of Chinese laborers another ten years and stripped most legal rights from Chinese immigrants; also required certificates of residence for Chinese in the United States
1893 Fong Yue Ting v. United States - Supreme Court declared Congress had the right to legislate expulsion through executive orders; Chinese community had raised money to bring this before the Court to test the Geary Act. 
Congress amended the Geary Act to make it more difficult for Chinese businessmen to enter this country
1894 Immigration officers authorized to ban the entry of certain aliens, including Chinese 
Gresham-Yang Treaty-China accepted total prohibition of immigration to the United States in return for readmission of those back in China on a visit; did away win Scott Act of 1888
1898 Congress excluded Chinese laborers from Hawaii; excluded Chinese in Hawaii from coming to the United States 
United States v. Wong Kim Art - Supreme Court rules person born in the United States of Chinese parents is of American nationality by birth
1889 Open door declared-United States advocated equal treatment within territories and sphere of influence claimed by other powers in china
1900 Organic Act provided government for territory of Hawaii; Chinese required to apply for certificate of residence 
United States v. Mrs. Cue Lim -Supreme Court ruled wives and children of treaty merchants were entitled to come to the United States
1902 Chinese exclusion extended for another 10 years
1904 All Chinese excluded from the United States, Washington, D.C., and all U.S. territories
1906 Asian Indians denied U.S. citizenship
1907 Proclamation of president Theodore Roosevelt-Japanese and Koreans issued passports for Mexico, Canada, or Hawaii were to be denied admission to continental United States
1908 Gentleman's Agreement (Affecting the Immigration of Japanese) Japan agreed to halt further immigration to the United States and the United States agreed to end discrimination against those Japanese who had already arrived.
1910 Angel Island open ; it  served as a prison for hundreds of Chinese immigrants. 
1911 Dillingham Commission Report - assumed two types of immigrants: (1) old immigrants - hardworking, Anglo Saxon (2) new immigrants - southern Europe, opportunists
1100 picture brides admitted, mostly in Hawaii
1917 Asiatic Barred Zone Act passed in Congress ; excluded immigration from South or Southeast Asia, including India;  included a literacy test; first attempt to restrict immigration from western Europe
1921 National Origin System - Immigration Act (Johnson Act) - used the country of birth to determine whether an individual could enter as legal alien, the number of previous immigrants and their descendants used to set the quota of how many from a country could enter annually. Basis of immigration system till 1965.
1922 Cable Act revoked American citizenship of any woman citizen marrying an alien ineligible for citizenship
1923 Chinese student immigration ended because of strict requirements for having the funds necessary to return to China;  U.S. Supreme Court upheld constitutionality of state Alien land Acts 
Supreme Court decision, United States v. Bhagat Singh, third decision
1924 Immigration Act (Johnson-Reed Act) restricted all Asians from coming into the United States
1925 Chang Chan et al. v. John D. Nagle - Supreme Court ruled Chinese wives of American citizens not entitled to enter the United States
1925 Cheung Sumchee v. Nagle -Supreme Court ruled 1924 Immigration Act did not apply to treaty merchants' wives or children
1927 Weedin v. Chin Bow -Supreme Court ruled persons born to American parents(s) who never resided in the United States are not of American nationality, thus not eligible for entry
1928 Lam Mow v. Nagle -Supreme Court ruled child born of Chinese parents on American vessels on high seas was not born in the United States, therefore not a citizen
1931 Cable Act amended -women who were United States citizens could retain citizenship after marriage to aliens ineligible for citizenship
1932 Hare-Hawes-Cutting Act excluded Filipino immigration to united States because they were ruled ineligible for citizenship
1934 Jones-Costigan Act
1940 Nationality Act made it possible for Filipino immigrants to become naturalized citizens
1943 Magnuson Act repealed the exclusion of Chinese immigration; token 100 Chinese immigrants allowed to enter the United States annually, selected by U.S. government 
Treaty abolished all unilateral rights of the United States in dealings with China
Koreans in the United States exempted from enemy alien status
1944 Renunciation Act passed by Congress (affecting Japanese Americans)
1945 War Brides Act-Admission to the United States for spouses and children of U.S. armed forces members, included 722 Chinese
1946 Wives and children of Chinese American citizens allowed to apply as no quota immigrants
Asian Indians granted token immigration quota of 100
1947 Citizenship restored to some Japanese Americans who had renounced it
1948 Displaced person Act-15,000 Chinese enabled to change their status in the United States; expired in 1954 
1950 Second Displaced Persons Act further helped Chinese in the United States to change their status (due to communist takeover in China)
1951 Remittances to mainland China prohibited when People's Republic entered Korean War
Admission of war brides and young children exempt from quotas
1952 Immigration and Nationality Act (McCarran-Walter Act) removed total ban of Chinese immigrants but upheld national origins quotas;
1953 Refugee Relief Act-2000 places allotted to Chinese out of total 205, 000 people to be admitted; law expired in 1956
1957 Refugee Escapee Act extended unused allotments of 1953 act, benefiting over 2000 Chinese
Attorney General allowed 15,000 Chinese to enter as parolees due to refugee situation in Hong Kong
1965 Immigration and Naturalization Act eliminated national origins quotas; 20,000 people per country allowed in; priority to those with skills and family in United States; removal of national origins quotas facilitated Filipino immigration 

National Defense Education Act made grant money available for Chinese studies

1972 President Richard M. Nixon traveled to China
1975 Parole authorized for Vietnamese dependents of U.S. citizens 

Operation Frequent Wind-US. government evacuated U.S. and Vietnamese people from Saigon 

Refugee centers opened in United States in various forts during April and May President Gerald Ford established interagency Task Force (AFT) in April to coordinate federal activity concerned with evacuation and resettlement of Vietnamese refugees 

Indochina Migration and Refugee Assistance Act provided funds for resettlement programs 

All refugee centers closed and AFT terminated in December; Department of Health, Education, Welfare Refugee Task Force assumed responsibility for refugee resettlement 

Parole granted for Cambodians in third countries

1976 Indochina Refugee Children Assistance Act extended educational assistance for elementary and secondary education of refugee children
1977 Public Law 956-135-Indochinese refugee allowed to become permanent residents of United States (could apply for citizenship five years after arrival) 

Additional refugees granted parole by attorney general 

Federal government supplemented state educational agency budgets for reimbursement of local schools with refugee children 

Congress passed bill to phase down refugee assistance over next four years, also provided adjustment of status from parole to permanent resident alien

1980 US Refugee Act
1981 Taiwan and Mainland China each allowed 20,000 immigrants
1986 Immigration Reform and Control Acts-Amnesty declared for certain illegal aliens
1989 American Homecoming Act
1990 Immigration Act increased number of immigrants admitted because of skill level; Immigration Act continued priority for skilled workers and family reunification
Congress passed legislation exempting Vietnamese in United States who are not U.S. citizens from a law banning anyone but a citizen from owning and piloting commercial fishing boats off the California coast 
1996 Illegal Immigration and Responsibility Act of 1996, Pub. L. No. 104-208, 110 Stat. 3009; People who have been in the United States longer than six months after their visas expired can be deported. They will also be barred from returning to the  United States for three years. And those who have been in the United States illegally for more than a year will have to wait 10 years before they will be allowed to return legally.





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