Chinese Exclusion Act Of 1882

1608 WordsApr 5, 20177 Pages
The 1848 Gold Rush fueled American prosperity in California, causing the impoverished Chinese to seek employment opportunities in the United States. Americans, however, did not welcome them. During the Panic of 1873, after the Gold Rush ended, competition for jobs became fierce. The jobs were mostly given to Americans. Out of desperation, the Chinese workers agreed to work for less salary than their American counterparts. Consequently, union workers rose up for their rightful jobs. With pressure from unions and anti-Chinese organizations, Congress passed the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, which banned Chinese immigrants from entering the country for decades. The Act stated that any Chinese immigrant “found unlawfully” in the country…show more content…
The prospect of forging a new path and life in America outweighed the small price of the tax. Immigrants coming to Canada could remain there without paying the head tax if they left within ninety days. While the Act was enforced, the number of Chinese immigrants entering Canada and later into the United States increased. To the south, the Mexican border was also penetrable. The Mexican border was too long, and with the absence of large towns, even the newly created China Division in the Immigrations Service was unable to patrol the area. Either the Chinese disguised themselves as Mexicans to cross the border, or they saved up money in Mexico and later smuggled their way into the United States. The Chinese Six Companies (the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association of San Francisco) was instrumental in helping to set up a network of trade for Chinese Immigrants to gain transportation and get across the borders. In total, about 17,000 Chinese immigrants entered the United States through Canada and Mexico from 1882 to 1920. Chinese immigrants entered the country from Seattle, Buffalo, San Diego, San Antonio, and El Paso, as well as other openings along the borders of the United States. The government simply could not protect their borders from crafty immigrants. Secretary of Labor, James David, acknowledged this point when he said, “If we had the whole army guarding the Mexico and Canadian waterfront, we could not stop this invasion by infiltration.” The
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