Pub. date: 2008 | Online Pub. Date: April 25, 2008 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412963879 | Print ISBN: 9781412926942 | Online ISBN: 9781412963879| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Alien Land Acts
Meghan A. Burke
The collective term Alien Land Acts refers to individual state laws passed during the early 20th century that limited the ability of aliens who were ineligible for citizenship to own land or, in many cases, to participate in long-term leases. Through court rulings and immigration statutes, citizenship was generally restricted to Whites during this period, and anti-Asian resentment was strong in the U.S. West. The laws were implicitly anti-Asian and specifically affected Japanese Americans who owned agricultural land. Revisions strengthening the laws continued throughout World War II until the Alien Land Acts became nonenforceable as a result of a federal court decision after the war. Although the Alien Land Acts were in effect for only three to four decades, they have had a lasting impact on Asians' abilities both to earn wealth and to gain acceptance in U.S. society, as outlined in this entry. The Alien Land Acts emerged at ...