Chinese American Soldiers
Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882
Congress said that Asians could not assimilate in American culture. So they made a number of immigration laws. Senator Charles Sumner stated that Chinese immigration into America would be “productive of unconceivable mischief “and that Chinese who could not “coalesce with other elements of our population and form together a national entity were dangerous to the peace and integrity of this nation.”
The Chinese Exclusion Law passed by Congress on May 6, 1882 was based on the idea that the Chinese were aliens. A case called Chae Chan Ping vs. US showed how the exclusion law took its toll. The court decided to exclude Ping, who had been a legal alien resident in the US for a while, because he was born in China. Another case was the Fong Yue Ting vs, US in 1893. In this case, they decided to expel and deport Fong Yue Ting back to China. The Congress made laws first against the Chinese, next against Asian Indians, then to Japanese, Koreans and Filipinos. In 1942, President Roosevelt issued an order to clearout all the Japanese in the US to send them into concentration camps, even though most of the 110,000 people of Japanese ancestry were American citizens whose civil rights were protected by the constitution. It was not until 1878 that a federal court ruled that Chinese immigrants were not eligible for naturalization because they were neither white nor African descent. The Chinese Exclusion Act in 1882 also excluded Chinese laborers for 10 years. But in 1898, the Supreme Court ruled that the American born children of parents were eligible to naturalization and were US citizens under the 14 th amendment. Chinese Immigrants were amended laws for in 1943. Asian Indian and Filipino immigrants were not repealed until 1946. All other Asian Immigrants became eligible for citizenship in 1952, when race was finally removed from the laws.
The main reason these laws persisted were because Americans felt that the Chinese didn’t deserve to be here in America. They cant keep up with our system, and that they cant adjust to the US.
Source: Kim, Hyung-Chan. Asian Americans and Congress. CT: Greenwood Publishing Group Inc, 1996.