Immigrants Rights

Early California, Immigrants Rights, Race: 1879

Voters ratify a new state constitution.  At the urging of the Workingmen’s Party, the new constitution denies Chinese immigrants the right to vote, bans the hiring of Chinese by corporations or on public works, and authorizes cities to require Chinese residents to live outside city limits or in segregated areas.

Immigrants' Rights, Race: 1882

E-PluribusE-PluribusCongress passes the Chinese Exclusion Act.

Immigrants' Rights: 1886

Yick Wo laundryYick Wo laundryIn Yick Wo v. Hopkins, the U.S. Supreme Court strikes down a San Francisco ordinance requiring operators of laundries in wooden buildings to obtain approval from the Board of Supervisors to stay in business. Not coincidentally, Chinese laundries operate in wooden buildings. This is the first U.S. Supreme Court decision to state that the due process and equal protection clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment apply to non-citizens, and that a law that is impartial on its face but is enforced in a discriminatory manner is unconstitutional.

Immigrants' Rights: 1892

Geary Act extends the Chinese Exclusion Act another 10 years and compels all Chinese legitimately in the United States to obtain a government-issued identity certificate that must be carried at all times. Those stopped without the certificate are subject to immediate deportation.

Immigrants' Rights: 1894

Voters amend the state constitution to deny voting rights to individuals who cannot write their names and read the constitution in English.

Immigrants' Rights: 1898

Wong Kim ArkWong Kim ArkU.S. Supreme Court rules in United States v. Wong Kim Ark that individuals born in the Untied States are American citizens.

Immigrants' Rights: 1902

Congress indefinitely extends the Chinese Exclusion Act.

Immigrants' Rights: 1908

BrideBrideUnited States and Japan negotiate the “Gentlemen’s Agreement,” in which Japan voluntarily agrees to limit immigration to the U.S., thereby virtually ending immigration of Japanese laborers to the U.S. However, the wives and families of Japanese immigrants already in the U.S. are allowed to immigrate.

Immigrants' Rights: 1910-1940

Angel Island in San Francisco Bay serves as an immigration station for people arriving from east Asia, south Asia, and Russia. The government detains and interrogates thousands of Chinese newcomers to determine whether they are lawful immigrants.

Immigrants' Rights: 1913

Legislature passes a law barring “aliens ineligible for citizenship” (i.e. Asians) from owning land and restricting leases to three years. The law applies almost exclusively to Japanese immigrants.
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