The statute of 1882 suspended Chinese immigration for ten years and declared the Chinese as ineligible for naturalization. Chinese workers already in the country challenged the constitutionality of the discriminatory acts, but their efforts failed.
The act was renewed in 1892 for another ten years, and in 1902 Chinese immigration was made permanently illegal. The legislation proved very effective, and the Chinese population in the United States sharply declined.
American experience with Chinese exclusion spurred later movements for immigration restriction against other “undesirable” groups such as Middle Easterners, Hindu and East Indians, and the Japanese. The Chinese themselves remained ineligible for citizenship until 1943.
America: Promised Land The 2-part special premieres Memorial Day at 9/8c on HISTORY.
The Reader’s Companion to American History. Eric Foner and John A. Garraty, Editors. Copyright © 1991 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.