Early California, Immigrants' Rights: 1862

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To discourage Chinese immigration and competition from Chinese workers, the legislature levies the “Chinese Police Tax” of $2.50 per month on almost all Chinese immigrants.

In Lin Sing v. Washburn, the California Supreme Court invalidates the “Chinese Police Tax,” ruling that the state had overstepped its authority and legislated in an area - foreign commerce - that is the exclusive sphere of the federal government. This was the first case in which a Chinese immigrant legally challenged a state law as a violation of a federal law or the United States Constitution.