Dark-shadows Chinese Exclusion Act in Trump's Muslim Ban
shadows of Chinese Exclusion Act in Trump
The Chinese Exclusion Act has a dubious distinction: it was the first federal law in the United States to prevent members of a specific ethnic group from entering the country. The law banned the immigration of Chinese laborers and prevented Chinese from becoming naturalized citizens. The law came into being in 1882 and was repealed in 1943, a time when China was an ally in World War II.
Although the law was repealed in 1943, the quotas were still incredibly small. It wasn't until immigration was totally overhauled in 1965 that a reasonable number of Chinese were permitted to immigrate
The article is thoughtful and well researched.
The Chinese Exclusion Act was upheld by the Supreme Court in 1889 and it did so on the grounds of national security. They didn’t use those words but they did talk about Chinese immigrants in particular about being “agents” of a foreign country and describing them as being the “advance guard” of an army.
While 50 years later most Americans would consider the Chinese Exclusion Act to be blatant racism unbecoming of our modern nation, in reality it was never legally challenged or proven unlawful. It was simply replaced.
The lack of any real precedent means that the courts are on shaky ground in ruling on the current travel ban.