What the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 Should Teach Trump on Immigration and Border Walls

in #history4 years ago (edited)


- Use and Abuse

The United States of America greeted many of its immigrants with open arms during the great expansion of the country in the 1800's. The U.S. was a growing nation then, industrialized yet still seeking to connect its two coasts via the U.S. railroad. Then the California Gold Rush hit in the late 1840's, and immigrants from all over the world poured into the U.S., in particularly California and the West.

It was during this time that many Chinese men made the long journey to America, seeking work that would allow many to maintain a household back in China. They came to build the railroad and to mine California Gold. Many other immigrants from other parts of the world also came and contributed during this time of great expansion.

Yet, it would only be the Chinese that would be targeted once the good times stopped. After most of the major railroads had been built, and most of the Gold had been dug up came harder times for the U.S. The U.S. Civil War had ended mid 1865, and by the 1870's, the U.S. was in an economic down turn. It was during these times that the sentiment towards immigrants turned from a welcoming one to one of disdain. This wave of anti-immigrant hit the Chinese particularly hard, with many blaming the Chinese for the harsh economic times of the day. By 1882, Congress had enacted the Chinese Exclusion Act which basically made it illegal for any Chinese person to legally emigrate into the United States. This act would keep many Chinese families apart for years if not permanently.

It would be this act, the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, that would springboard illegal immigration and the smuggling trade of undocumented people, particularly through Mexico. Since hundred of thousands of Chinese had already legally emigrated and made life in the United States, this new law kept many from reuniting with family and loved ones. The Exclusion Act of 1882 basically barred anyone from China legally entering the U.S. for ten years. For many that was unfair and too long to have to wait to have their families with them.

This Chinese exclusion Act drove those desperate for family and loved ones to smuggle their families in to the U.S. During this time there was no official U.S. Immigration Department that guarded the borders. This allowed the Chinese to use Mexico and Canada as smuggling routes to bring their loved ones to America. The wave of illegal Chinese immigrants from both the northern and southern border eventually led to a build up of U.S. border protection in order to prevent the mostly Chinese immigrants.

This anti-immigrant political wave of the late 1800's rolled on in to the early 1900's. It culminated with the U.S. Immigration Act of 1924 which was enacted to mostly restrict immigration of Chinese and other Asians, as well as Eastern and Southern Europeans while also banning East Indians and Arabs. Ironically, it exempted Mexicans from this list of excluded migrants since Mexicans are considered Native American with (Northern) European (White) blood. Thus Northern Europeans, Whites and Mexicans could legally migrate to the U.S. even after the Immigration Act of 1924.

But the love for the Mexican immigrant would last only as long as the economic good times rolled as was the case with the Chinese. The depression of 1929 quickly put an end to the romance between the U.S. economy and the Mexican migrants. After 1929, Mexicans and people of Mexican descent were no longer needed nor welcomed in the United States, and immigration enforcement against immigrants became the norm then and since. America's unofficial open borders policy officially ended during this time.

Although the borders have become increasingly policed and secured since the Immigration Act of 1924, America's love affair with cheap illegal immigrant labor seems more like an addiction. In the mid 1960's, U.S. immigration policy once again favored Mexican immigrants with favorable policies geared towards uniting U.S. residents with family abroad by allowing them to emigrate into the U.S.

This love / hate relationship with immigrants has been on going for well over 100 hundreds years. Everything is fine and dandy when the economic times are good, and cheap labor is in demand. Then, immigrants seeking a better life are welcomed to slave away under America's Corporate profit machines for the Wealthy. The love affair quickly ends in scape goating, or maybe in today's modern version of breaking up called ghosting when the economic good times end. Under Donald Trump, this soured relationship is going to end up with a supposed 2,000 mile long fence/wall.

If history teaches us anything, it is that people will always find a way when desperate enough. In the late 1880's, the Chinese used the Canadian border as well as the Mexican border to illegally cross into the United States. So if and when Trump's wall is put up on the Southern U.S. border, will he then be prepared to place one on the U.S. Canadian Border as well? Should the East Coast and West Coast get walled up too? Then will Trump be prepared to dig deep around those walls and cement the tunnels too?


Is there a better question with a better answer?

Would spending the Billions needed for the Wall/s be better used to economically boost repressed and depressed economic regions, thus creating a better quality of life and stemming the flow of immigration?

It seems to me that building a wall just leads to people going around, over, under and through it. With the U.S.'s low unemployment rate of 3.9%, it just might not make sense to wall the U.S. in, when it might be looking for outside labor like it has in the past..... only to boot them when done with them?

Full Steem Ahead!


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The US and Australia have a similar culture of promoting multiculturalism and diminishing the less desirable historical facts.

Australia only became a nation independent of Britain in 1901, at which time one of the first policies passed was literally The white Australia policy. This was designed to keep the nation British. Post ww2 they relaxed the policy to allow European immigration, which retained the white Australia ideal. The immigration officer were able to separate the less desirable (nonwhite) applicants by administering a dictation test which if passed in English could be requested in any European language.

Chinese immigration to Australia had commenced long before the nation was even created, and boomed during the gold rush. They were victims of racial violence on the gold fields The Lambing flat riots in 1861 saw 250 Chinese miners were attacked by 2000 European miners. There were many people injured and they lost their possessions, but rather than being protected by the mostly nonexistent law enforcement, The Chinese Immigration Restriction and Regulation Act was introduced in the state of NSW in 1861. The other East Coast states followed suit in 1877 an 1886.

The white Australia policy still existed until 1966!
The denial of the very existence of the first nations who had been on this land over 65 000 years continued until a referendum in 1967 decided to grant changes to the constitution and include indigenous peoples as equal citizens. It wasn't until 1992 that the Mabo case over turned the doctrine of Terra Nullius.
Literally meaning Nobodys Land, The these laws denied the fact that Indigenous peoples had prior occupation and connection to the land. One man, Eddie ‘Koiki’ Mabo's 10 year fight went all the way to the high court. He didn't live to see it, but-

The 1992 Mabo decision led to the Native Title Act (1993) which created a framework that recognises Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have rights to, and interests in, certain land because of their traditional laws and customs. It allows access to land for living, traditional purposes, hunting or fishing and/or to teach laws and customs on the land.

Exclusion, whether by means of walls or policies just set up a framework for prejudice and future challenges to reconciliation.
Chinese Australians have been here since before the nation was declared but are still told to go back to where they came from. The oldest nations of people in the world are here and still not properly acknowledged in the constitution. My own family are here because my ancestors who came from Southern Africa were in fact white. My children's Middle Eastern great grandmother, luckily for the family, was fluent in French when they arrived post ww2 and she was challenged with the European dictation test.

But history has taught us nothing. I have written before about our current immigration act and treatment of refugees in indefinite off shore detention. Shaping up to be our next big shameful historical regret.

Great post @streetstyle. I feel obliged to apologise for writing a book, but you tapped into something I am passionate about.

History is seldom glorious, but without recognising it, we cannot change.

I referenced the Australian national museum for accurate dates. www.nma.gov.au

This was great @girlbeforemirror I much appreciate the info and the candor.

I figured the U.S. isn't the only country to mistreat its indigenous people as well as its immigrants and refugees, which sadly brings no comfort to know that this happens elsewhere.
For me, I guess it is America's double standard that gets me. Welcoming and even luring immigrants for the cheap labor only to despise and disassociate with the immigrant once they are of no service or use.

Worse yet, the U.S. will go on the attack when other countries mistreat people, be it their own people or others. I believe that is why many countries and people around the world do not like the U.S. policies. This two faced double standard continues to this very moment with U.S. President Trump mistreating and mislabeling people and nations of color while within its own borders mistreats those that struggled to get to America for a better life.

Simply a sad state of human affairs.

Australia calls it Operation Sovereign Borders.
Rezoned all islands around the continent and then eventually the continent itself. Removing all land from migration zone to remove the legal rights of refugees in 2013.

With compulsory off shore detention and a promise to never be settled in Australia if refugees arrive by sea.
They are not even referred to as refugees. They were called asylum seekers, then illegal immigrants then queue jumpers.

The first "boat people" that arrived in Australia were from Vietnam and were received like brave heroes. Now, we send even children to be locked in camps in neighbouring pacific nations.

There were deaths at sea. The government uses the statistics of decreased smuggling and boat arrivals to legitimise the practice.

It doesn't change the fact that the UN found the Australian government policies to be in breach of human rights.


Not sure if the wall will do anything. I thought it was a joke hehe.

great post dear.Much obliged for sharing it

The law starts out by saying Chinese laborers constitute a danger to the United States. Yup; it just comes right out and says it. Then it says they can't immigrate for ten years.

There's only so many ways to say, "Hey, all those Chinese people who want to live and work in the U.S.? No thanks." This law tries all of them. The meat of the law is in Section 1, which is that bars Chinese people from immigrating for ten years.

The rest of it is spent on enforcement, including a system of monitoring Chinese people already in the country. It also points out how ship captains are supposed to deal with Chinese passengers, since this was before commercial air travel.

Correct, and thus Angel Island in San Francisco.

The Chinese Exclusion Act banned Chinese laborers from immigrating to the United States for ten years. It also prevented the Chinese already in the U.S. from becoming citizens. Congress renewed the law in 1892, and made it permanent in 1902. It was not until 1943 that the Act was repealed, allowing Chinese immigration and granting citizenship to Chinese nationals already residing in the country. But by then, many once-thriving Chinese communities in the U.S. had nearly disappeared.

Very interesting know the history of this kind of thoughts i think walls divide no just people divide the progress of nations but at the same time the culture is a big key factor here because you don't want in your country the crap of other so the solution here is try to create protocols between the countries and work togheter. Regards

These walls will also harm wild life, especially those that depend on large swaths of land to range and hunt.

Thank you very much for sharing this history my dear friend

The Chinese? Is that the reason why we have many Chinese immigrants in the united states? Did the Chinese governments play a role in this?

Yes, this is why LA, New York and San Francisco have ChinaTowns. Not sure what role the Chinese govt. played other than to screw over its people as most governments tend to do.

Well Im guessing the Chinatown wasn't just a co-incidences really, I guess there's a whole more We don't even know

Since I am in support of ending most entangling alliances... I think the real best solution is to build a couple military bases along the border. Bring the troops home and let them train along the border.

Though in the end I hope we can get rid of walls and imaginary lines of separation.

Outstanding post and amazing photos. Thank you for sharing

very interesting article , The picture is very expressive.
Thanks for sharing.

Dear @streetstyle,

Thank you so much for sharing this history. I didn't knew about this before. now i can feel the reality dear. Go on. best of luck.

that's very interesting history @streetstyle your every article is much impressive
Great work!

I think this is the first thing they will create problems for themselves. Thank you for the interesting article.

Great information about the chinese immigration history in united states,which i never knew..thanks for sharing @streetstyle

The summary of Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 was
A large sweep of Chinese immigration was followed by an economic downturn (these two things are entirely unrelated, too). White laborers wanted to protect their jobs from outsiders, and created enough political pressure to make that happen.
I think trump should learn some lessons from this. You're damn right @streetstyle

Thanks for me, this article was news, I did not know about it.

The Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, the first major ethnic group immigration exclusion policy in the U.S., provided a 10-year moratorium on Chinese labor immigration. The Act states that “in the opinion of the Government of the United States the coming of Chinese laborers to this country endangers the good order of certain localities within the territory . . . Therefore, Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That from and after the expiration of ninety days next after the passage of this act, and until the expiration of ten years next after the passage of this act, the coming of Chinese laborers to the United States be, and the same is hereby, suspended; and during such suspension it shall not be lawful for any Chinese laborer to come, or, having so come after the expiration of said ninety days, to remain within the United States.”

@streetstyle Sir I agree with your explanation and your history logic .
you are absolute right. you are amazing writer. i really liked your article.
Thank You So, much for share this.

Thanks for the butter up ....;-)

History is not a bad thing. It just reminds us what to do and what not to do in the future.

You are posting a such better post in history.
We should know about history to improve our knowledge.
Thanks for your post @streetstyle
Waiting for your next post.

Beginning around 1850, thousands of Chinese immigrants came to the West Coast of the United States to mine for gold and work building America’s transcontinental railroad. But over the next few decades, attitudes toward the Chinese soured. They were not allowed to give testimony in court or become naturalized citizens, and the state of California passed a law against interracial marriage. The Chinese Exclusion Act, passed in 1882, specifically prohibited Chinese immigration. As you read the documents below, try to understand why the American Congress passed the Chinese Exclusion Act.

It's an acknowledged post for all of us. Its quite interesting and worth reading immigration history about U.S.

Your every writing is excellent. i like this story.
keep it up.

Thank You so much for your brilliant analysis. Always appreciate about your valuable post. It was such a great history and your writing skill was so much high. We are glad to get a creative person like you in this community.
God bless you @streetstyle

Interesting history..... truest I never heard this type of history...really it’s a great article.... thanks for this writing... excellent....

Well for the loved ones people will always find their way to be with them.It is without a doubt.

There have been many rules made but they were indeed broken.

Politics is indeed a brutal way for people who it does not care about in many cases.

Hopefully it will happen again. I wish America still accepted immigrants. Because immigrants provide many benefits to America.

It seems like you know a lot about American history. Honestly, I did not know in advance about this incident. Thank you for giving us new knowledge. : D

Dari bunokon ku preh kah. Inohat ka post. Hek lon-lon bak ku preh kah. Krue seumangat.

Hopefully this incident does not happen again. When this happens again it will be a lot of losses between the two. Indeed this event is a painful event.

After reading this post. I was reminded of the beginning of a trumping government that drove immigrants from Islamic countries from America on terrorist grounds. At that time many American citizens also regretted the trump decision and Americans wept while embracing immigrants from Islamic countries, as immigrants from Islamic countries are good people. All religions teach goodness, no religion teaches evil. Why do non-Muslims consider that Islam is a terrorist. That's because there are certain parties who want to destroy Islam. I hope the battle in this world is over soon so we can live comfortably and peacefully.

Since a long I have not read any article on history but your post really made the geek inside me to learn more and more.

Hi @streetstyle, great post dear.

Trump's position on immigrants is not new to his predecessors. If we go back to the past, Trump's approach to immigrants finds roots in black pages that have traced the history of immigration to the United States, showing anti-rejectionist attitudes toward certain categories of immigrants.

Unlike his predecessors several decades ago, Trump was quick to launch anti-immigration attitudes, restricting entry visas, without hiding his desire to expel millions of illegal immigrants. In turn, he called for attracting rich immigrants with high levels of science, especially among white Europeans.

I think the United States should learn from Russia's experience, because Russia is very respectful of China, and China is very respectful of Russia, whereas the United States has, in the past, respected neither the one or the other. This is why, this time, China's goal is to explain to the United States how to respect the other great powers such as China and Russia. I believe that today, one of the biggest challenges in relations between China and the United States is learning to avoid the historical trap - that is, when a great power emerges, a another great power begins to make war on him.

Nice story [email protected] should good use of immigration.following you and upvoted.resteemed

Great writing. I never thought this might be one of the reason for Chinese immigrating. I have always been interested in history of country's and this one is surprising. Thanks for the article. I really enjoyed reading it.

Not sure how is he going to block so many people from entering. He better build the wall around the whole United States then.

the new policies need to be moderated and on should be hold

Nice idea you have shared taking consideration of past situation as well wonderful post :)

only genuine people should be getting in and no more fraudsters

This is, no doubt, a well researched and compelling post. I enjoyed the flow, following the links between the events. In the end, a fine research work was accomplished and the words below, methinks, should be written in gold:

It seems to me that building a wall just leads to people going around, over, under and through it. With the U.S.'s low unemployment rate of 3.9%, it just might not make sense to wall the U.S. in, when it might be looking for outside labor like it has in the past..... only to boot them when done with them?

Regards. Upvoted and resteemed.

the boundaries will make this world a worse place in my opinion

Bereh that nyan Rakan 👍 @streetstyle

An excellent article, written very well, there will always be problems with the emigrants, if it is not the wall, there will be many more, @streetstyle.

finally i can again read your post, very useful

We must not forget history, because from history we can learn a lot.
Thanks to share @streetstyle

Sangat senang dengan postingan anda yang selalu memberikan informasi dan motifasi Kepada setiap pembaca 👍 @streetstyle

@streetstyle Interesting post, and very informative
I'm looking forward to our next post

Great history dear. Thanks for sharing

Please Stop - @maicle

You just said "thanks for sharing" and in your your last 100 comments you used 42 phrases considered to be spam and you made this exact same comment 1 times. You've received 1 flags and you may see more on comments like these. These comments are the reason why your Steem Sincerity API classification scores are Spam: 83.10% and Bot: 3.80%

Please stop making comments like this and read the ways to avoid @pleasestop and earn the support of the community.

Very good writing sir your all post best

wow very excellent nice history post

If history teaches us anything, it is that people will always find a way when desperate enough
one thing more that we teach from history that" we do not teach from history"

Thanks for sharing wonderful history.
I appreciate your writing.
Carry on your life sir..I follow you**

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thanks you friend @streetsyle for sharing this great history and good luck friend.

it is painful to see how much discrimination exists because of being an immigrant because of the color of the skin and because of the different cultures that human beings can have, this is lived in all countries we should create more awareness on the subject

I will like to your artical and thanks to give this nice post.and this story is vary good

Imposing a ban on immigrants never serve the purpose. Immigrants add a lot of postive to the economy of the country due to their skill. China is already capture a big share of market so the immigrants ban is not a great idea

Sir you have nicely written the true history as it's very educative for US government. Mr Trump shouldn't forget their reputation and change his decision.

An important history, at that time China was asleep, but now they have become the mecca of the world economy with their struggle.
Thanks for the history you shared. @streetstyle

I strongly agree with your opinion streetstyle

hi streetstyle you are very good at writing, why you have disappeared when you are one of the people who most often wait for your post

thank you streetstyle i from do not know now i really understand

railroad is one of the best ideas to make America become a developed country

Thanks streetstyle yours post very important for me

much of the science I got from your post

thanks very inspired streetstyle i read it

thanks @streetstyle has shared information let me share to others

wow very long writing, but very useful to remember history

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