Chinese Exclusion Act

The Chinese Exclusion Act was approved on May 6, 1882. It was the first significant law restricting immigration into the United States.

This Act created a 10-year ban on Chinese labor immigration. For the first time, federal law limited entry of an ethnic working group on the grounds that it endangered the common good. Congress did not allow state and federal courts the right to grant citizenship to Chinese resident undocumented immigrants, although the courts could still deport them.

The Act was later extended in the form of the Geary Act. Though it was repealed in 1943, Congress still set a yearly limit on Chinese immigrants.