The first significant Chinese immigration to North America began with the California Gold Rush of 1848-1855. The Chinese came in hopes of collecting lots of gold and sending money back to their poor families. During the early stages of the gold rush,the Chinese were tolerated by white people. As gold became harder to find, animosity toward the Chinese and other foreigners increased. The most important reason for Chinese immigration was economic hardship due to the growing British dominance over China after Britain defeated China in the Opium War of 1839-1842
President Chester A. Arthur signed the Chinese Exclusion Act which was passed by congress. The Chinese Exclusion Act required the few non laborers who sought entry to obtain certification from the Chinese government that they were qualified to emigrate.
The Chinese Exclusion Act was approved on May 6,1882. The Chinese Exclusion Act was the first significant law restricting immigration into the United States. The act provided an absolute 10-year suspension on Chinese labor immigration.
The Chinese Exclusion Act was implemented to prevent all members of specific ethnic or national group from immigrating. The act was initially intended for 10 years, but was renewed in 1892 with the Geary Act (law that extended the Chinese Exclusion Act by adding new requirements) and made permanent in 1902. It was repealed by the Magnuson Act on December 17,1943 which allowed 105 Chinese to enter per year
The Chinese Exclusion Act froze the Chinese community in place in 1882 and limited immigration from China continued until the repeal of the Chinese Exclusion Act in 1943.
The Chinese Exclusion Act had a ripple effect on the United States’ legal history. It was followed by the Geary Act of 1892 and in 1902 the ban against the immigration of Chinese laborers was made permanent