Pub. date: 2009 | Online Pub. Date: June 02, 2009 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412971928 | Print ISBN: 9781412950855 | Online ISBN: 9781412971928| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Chinese Exclusion Act
The Immigration Act of 1882, popularly known as the Chinese Exclusion Act, was the first major and the only federal legislation that banned immigrants explicitly based on a specific nationality. It represented one of the darkest moments in the history of U.S. race policy, set the precedent for later restriction against immigration of other races and nationalities, and started a new era in which the country became a gate-keeping nation. The Chinese Exclusion Act was passed by Congress and signed by President Chester A. Arthur in 1882. The act lasted for 10 years and was extended for another 10 years by the 1892 Geary Act. The basic exclusion law prohibited Chinese laborers, who were defined excludable as “both skilled and unskilled laborers and Chinese employed in mining” (Chinese Exclusion Act), from entering the United States; subsequent amendments to the law prevented Chinese laborers who left the United States from returning. ...