May 6, 1882 – The U.S. Passes The Chinese Exclusion Act

On this day in history, The Chinese Exclusion Act was signed into law by President Chester A. Arthur. The law halted Chinese immigration for ten years and prohibited Chinese from becoming U.S. citizens. The law was renewed in 1892 through the Geary Act, renewed again in 1902, and extended indefinitely in 1943.


The Magnuson Act in 1943 recognized China’s role as ally of the U.S. against Japan in World War II. Nevertheless, the 1943 act only allowed 105 Chinese immigrants per year. This immigration system remained in place until the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965, which abolished the national-origin quotas established by the Immigration Act of 1924. The Nationality Act became law on July 1, 1968, and triggered a rise in immigration, especially from Asia.

You can read the text of the original Chinese Exclusion Act here, and the text of the Magnuson Act here.



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