Home Immigration History The Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882

The Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882

The Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882

Following the Civil War, the nation as a whole began to enact a more specific immigration policy. Different trends of immigration caused some previous generations of Americans to rethink immigration policies of the time, and put in place actual restrictions in addition to other considerations.
National sentiment towards immigrant labor sat at the root of many of these anxieties and started to influence immigration policy on a large scale. This process of granting freedoms only to drastically remove them, became a usual practice in American immigration policy. The end Civil War, which granted rights to former slaves was met in the next decades with political posturing that responded to national outcries for stricter race-based immigration policy.
Immigration policies subsequent to the end of the Civil War illustrated a central change in the way the nation responded to immigrants. As the job market went through cyclical changes, older-generation Americans became furious over the loss of occupation to new immigrants. Perceptions of these new workers continued to worsen as many immigrants would demand lower wages and would also be used for replacement labor in response to strikes.
The first of the immigration policies dealing with specific types of restrictions came in 1875. In response to the aforementioned national mood towards immigrants, this immigration policy was the first to prevent the immigration of specific types of people. This would be important precedent for future pieces of legislation that would further the idea of race-based immigration policy. 
A gross example of immigration policy in the nineteenth century is referred to as the Chinese Exclusion Act that was passed in 1882; an act that instituted harsh restrictions on both the immigration and naturalization of Chinese immigrants. It was originally passed with a time constraint permitting its jurisdiction for a span of ten years.
Later immigration policies would uphold the ruling of the Chinese Exclusion Act, by instating an effectual block of Chinese immigrants from coming to the country, in addition to denying the naturalization of Chinese immigrants already in the country for nearly a century.
Another legislative act passed in 1882 initiated further restriction of who could enter the country and put in place a 50-cent tax for all immigrants traveling to America. American immigration policies from this point reflected the overall growth of the nation and a certain air of privilege when it came to choosing who would be able to immigrate to the country.
Immigration policies would grow from this point on to make the process of immigration much more difficult, if not impossible for certain types of people. An act in the early 1900s would make the Chinese Exclusion Act permanent until it would be finally repealed in the 1940.



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