- 1790: Naturalization Act, which limited citizenship to “free white persons.”
- 1882: Chinese Exclusion Act, which barred Chinese immigrants for 10 years (later extended). This law also prohibited Chinese immigrants from naturalizing. Provisions repealed in 1943.
- 1907: Gentlemen’s Agreement, in which Japan and the U.S. agreed to stop issuance of passports for new Japanese laborers to come to the U.S., but the U.S. allowed immigration of family members of Japanese residents already in the country.
- 1917: Immigration Act, which barred immigration from most countries in Asia.
- 1923: A U.S. Supreme Court ruling, which said Indians from Asia were not white, reversing previous court decisions allowing them to become citizens.
- 1924: National Origins Act, which extended earlier prohibitions on Asian immigration but exempted Filipinos, who lived in an American territory.
- 1942: A presidential order during World War II that allowed the secretary of war to remove Japanese Americans from certain areas; eventually, 120,000 were interned in camps.
- 1945: The War Brides Act, which allowed the entry, with no quotas, of foreign-born women married to U.S. servicemen.
- 1952: McCarran-Walter Immigration and Naturalization Act, which allowed Asian Americans to become naturalized U.S. citizens.
- 1965: Immigration and Nationality Act, which opened the doors for new immigration from Asia. Spouses, children under 21 and parents of U.S. citizens could be admitted without quotas. The law allowed up to 20,000 immigrants per country and 170,000 from the Eastern Hemisphere; family members and some categories of skilled workers were favored.
- 1980: Refugee Act, which redefined refugees more broadly, thus granting asylum to boat people escaping Vietnam.
- 1990: Immigration Act, which increased the ceiling on new immigrant visas, especially for family members of U.S. citizens and for skilled foreigners requested by U.S. employers.
(Source: Pew: The Rise of Asian-Americans)
This should be taught in all history classes:
Jesse Washington is a Senior Writer for ESPN's TheUndefeated.com