History 111

Immigration - An Overview and A Case Study

Below,  please find most of the overheads for Unit I, Lecture 5 on immigration.  You will note that each overhead is separated by a solid line.

Lecture Goals

1. To define immigration and related terms and in so doing, make  it clear that immigration and immigrants have contributed to the unique political,social, and economic structure of the United States.

2. To provide a general overview of immigration patterns in the 19th and 20th Centuries.

3. To discuss the ways in which Americans responded to immigration  by passing federal laws restricting immigration and naturalization.

4. To examine the treatment of Chinese immigrants in Humboldt County and in so doing, emphasize that the history of Chinese and white relations in the US and in California greatly influenced the opinions of Humboldt County residents about the Chinese immigrants living in their various communities.

 Immigration, Emigration, and Migration Defined

Immigration is the process of moving from one nation to another nation to permanently resettle.

Emigration is the process of moving from one nation to another, with the possibility of returning to oneís original homeland.

In this course, immigration and emigration will be used synonymously.

Migration is the process of moving from one location within a nation to another location within that same nation.

 Major Factors for Immigration

Push - The forces that push - either through encouragement or force - people to immigrate.  Encouraging push factors include diminishing land resources, unemployment, poverty, drought, economic depression.  Forceful push factors include enslavement and imprisonment.

Pull - The attractive forces that pull persons to search out a new life in a distant place.  These can political, ideological, and economic - but again, most pull factors are economic.

The Third Immigration Wave: 1890 to 1924

During the third wave of immigration, the Industrial Revolution brought an unprecedented number of immigrants to America - over 18 million during the first three decades.  Between 1900 and 1910, the largest influx of immigrants arrived in US history ? 8.8 million people

The Fourth Immigration Wave, 1925 to 1960.

During this period, immigration was at an all-time low - primarily due to the restrictions of the 1924 Act.

Years    Number of Immigrants
1821 - 1930   4,107,209
1931 - 1940       495,386
1941 - 1950   1,000,000
1951 - 1960   2,500,000
This trend was reversed by the Immigration Reform Act of 1965 that lifted numerical restrictions against Asian immigrants and set new restriction limits ? 120,000 immigrants annually from the Western Hemisphere and 170,000 from other parts of the world.
 The Final Immigration Wave, 1961 to the Present

During the final wave, immigration rose to unprecedented numbers.  Between 1961 and 2000, about 28.5 million people immigrated to the US.

  Years           #Number  #Asian     #Mexican
  1961-1970    3,321,677           428             454
  1971-1980    4,493,314  1,588,000             640
  1981-1990    7,338,062  2,738,000    2,336,000
  1991-2000  13,300,000          na             na
Beginning  in 1971, over two-thirds of all new immigrants have been Asian and Mexican. Consequently, the numbers of Asians and Mexicans living in the US grew to unprecedented numbers in the last two decades.
Federal Responses to Immigration

1790s. The US government takes the first steps toward closing its open attitudes about immigrants by limiting those who could become naturalized citizens on the basis of race and political affiliation.

1875.  The US government passes its second act limiting who becomes naturalized citizens based on race.  The Revised Federal Statutes specified that racially, only persons of white or black descent were eligible to become American citizens.  All Asian immigrants, being neither white nor black, were classified as "aliens ineligible to citizenship."

1882.  The US government passes the first - and only - law restricting immigration based upon nationality and race.  The Chinese Exclusion Act, which forbade the immigration of Chinese immigrants, was not repealed until 1943.

1922.  The Cable Act forces women married Asian men to relinquish their citizenship. "Any woman who marries an alien ineligible to citizenship shall cease to be a citizen of the United States."  Repealed in 1936.

1924.  The US government passes its second law restricting immigration based on nationality.  The Immigration Act established quotas designed to reduce immigration from southern and eastern Europe (especially Jews and Italians) and prohibited the admission of "aliens ineligible to citizenship" - all Asians, including wives of Asians already in the US.  For the first time in history, immigration dramatically decreases.

The US government amends the Naturalization Act to give American Indians citizenship.
1929 to 1937.  In response to the huge numbers Mexican immigrants working  in American agriculture, the United States immigration Bureau works with authorities in Los Angeles to send illegal Mexican workers back to Mexico. By 1937, half a million Mexicans had left the US.

1940.  The US government amends the Naturalization Act to give Latin Americans citizenship.

1942.  The first 1,500 braceros enter the US as contract laborers to be returned to Mexico at the end of a specific term.  During the war years, braceros worked in 21 (but mainly California and Texas) states where in 1944 alone, they harvested crops worth $432 million.  Ranchers paid low wages and provided barely livable facilities.  The program ends in 1964.

1943.  The US government amends the Naturalization Act to allow Chinese to become citizens. Because the US allied with China during WWII, a quota of 105 per year was set for Chinese immigration (based on a formula set on one-sixth the total population of that ancestry in the 1920 census.)  Japanese were still excluded.

1945.  The US government amends the Naturalization Act to give citizenship to Filipinos and Asian Indians.

1952  The McCarran-Walter Immigration and Naturalization Act ends the racially-based naturalization ban and nullifies the 1790 Act by stating, "The right of a person to become a naturalized citizen...shall not be denied or abridged because of race or sex or because such person is married."

1965.  The US government passes the Immigration Reform Act that lifts numerical restrictions against Asian immigrants and set new restriction limits - 120,000 immigrants annually from the Western Hemisphere and 170,000 from other countries.   Emphasized that immigration was devoted to reunifying families of American citizens.   Immigrants had to have a sponsor who in turn, had to pledge to support arriving relatives or workers. Thereafter, Asian and Hispanic immigration soared.

1978.  The US government amends the Immigration Reform Act to allow a global ceiling of 290,000 immigrants annually.  In reality, since 1965, the annual numbers of immigrants have been much higher.

1980.  The US government passes the Refugee Act defining refugees as anyone "who is unable or unwilling to return to, and is unable or unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country because of persecution, or a well-founded fear of persecution, on account of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group, or political opinion."

1987.  The US government passes the Immigration Reform and Control Act which grants amnesty to any illegal immigrant who entered the US before 1982 and had continuously resided here since.  Of the 3.7 million eligible for amnesty, 2.6 million accepted it. Employers who hired illegal aliens became subject to fines and jail sentences if a pattern of hiring illegals could be found. Employers were not obligated to verify the validity of documents.  Consequently, many growers simply ignored the growing reality of counterfeit documents for illegals.

1996.  The US government passes the Immigration Law Amendments to enforce the pledges of sponsors to support arriving relatives and workers. Sponsors must prove their income is at least 25% above the poverty line ($20,000 for a household of four) and must promise to maintain support until the arriving immigrant has worked 10 years or become a citizen.

1997.  The US government passes the Immigration Amnesty Bill giving amnesty to all Nicaraguan and Cuban immigrants.  All who applied automatically received permanent residency.

1998.  The US government passes the Omnibus Budget Bill authorizing the H-1B visa program that allows the entrance of 115,000 foreign workers annually who have training or experience in high-tech fields - especially engineering, accounting, and programming. An H-1B visa allows a stay of up to three years but can be renewed for a total of six years.

1999.  The US government passes the H-1B Visa amendments to close the loophole allowing Americans to be openly fired and replaced by H-1B workers..

2000.  The US government passes the H-1B Visa amendments which almost doubles the number of temporary visas for foreign skilled high-tech workers from 115,000 annually to 195,000 annually for the next three years. the legislation was changed in response to the arguments of tech companies that contend they face a shortage of 300,000 workers and a 1.4 percent unemployment rate in the information technology industry.  If they cannot draw the needed workers from abroad, they argue, they will be forced to more their facilities and research overseas.

US Census Bureau estimates that the number of illegal immigrants in the US more than doubled during the 1990s.  About 8.7 undocumented immigrants live in the US - about 115,000 are from the Middle East (many of whom are "quasi-legal" or political refugees) and 3.9 million (44%) are from Mexico.  Latinos numbered 35.3 million in the census.
2001.  US Congress passes the "Patriot Act" which gives the president and attorney general broad new powers to detain and deport immigrants.

A State, and Local Case Study of Anti-Chinese Policies and Actions:
Focus on California and Humboldt County

1848 First Chinese immigrants enter California.

1850 About 1,000 Chinese immigrants live in California.

1852 California's Foreign Miner's Tax imposes $3 monthly tax for non-native-born citizens of the US (the Chinese) and those becoming citizens under the Treaty of Guadelupe Hidalgo (the Mexicans).  The tax was enforced by tax collectors who kept part of the fee for themselves, were allowed to take property of those who failed to  pay, and often used extreme violence in their collection methods.

Commutation Tax requires shipmasters to prepare a list of foreign passengers, and ship owners to post a $500 bond for each, which could be commuted by paying a tax of $5 to $50 per passenger.
1854 People v. Hall California Supreme Court decision overturns murder conviction of a white man convicted on the eyewitness testimony of Chinese workers, finding that "Chinese and other people not white" could not testify in court against whites.

1855 California legislature levies a $50 tax on every ship bringing immigrants "ineligible for citizenship."  The California Supreme Court declared the law unconstitutional in 1857.

California legislature increases the Foreign Miners' License Tax to $6 per month, with increases set for $2 each susequent year.  The State legislature repeals the law and establishes the tax at $4 per month.
1858 California legislature passes "An Act to Prevent the Further Immigration of Chinese or Mongolians to this State" forbidding Chinese individuals from landing in California except during weather-related emergencies.  California Supreme Court declares the llaw unconstitutional in 1862.

1862 California legislature passes "An Act to Protect Free White Labor Against Competition with Coolie Labor and to Discourage the Immigration of Chinese to the State of California."  Requires a tax on laborers who were not working in agriculture.

1866 California legislature passes "An Act for the Suppression of Chinese Houses of Ill-Fame" which made Chinese brothels illegal.  The law makes it possible for a landlord to discriminate against potential Chinese occupants upon the suspicion that prostitution might take place in the premises.

1870s Chinese represent 20% of California's labor force, although they constitute only .002 percent of the entire US population.

The Workingmen's Party, comprised of white workers and white poor, focuses on the elimination of Chinese labor in California.  Is able to convince San Francisco's office of the Cigarmakers' International Union to distribute a circular across the western US that listed manufacturers who employed Chinese, "Which is a great injury to our white working men and women."  The union asks readers to boycott these firms and began to attach special labels to their products proclaiming "Made by white labor," or "Made by white men."

California legislature imposes steep fines up to $5000 on individuals who imported Chinese into the state without a "certificate of good character."  California Supreme Court declares the law unconstitutional.

1878  California legislature bars Chinese individuals from  owning real estate.

1879 Second California Constitution passes with two new articles that discriminate against the Chinese: Chinese immigrants were denied the vote in California; and state and local public works agencies were forbidden to employ a Chinese laborer.

1880 California Chinese population reaches 75,000.

The California legislature prohibits marriage between a white person and a "negro, mulatto, or Mongolian."
1882 San Francisco Schools Policy establishes a separate school for the Chinese.  Sacramento followed the example in 1893.

1883 Chinese labor, recruited by Humboldt Country builders, helps build the Eel River and Eureka RRs.  About 200 Chinese live in Eureka.

1884 Local newspapers in Eureka print articles about violence among rival Chinese tongs, or secret societies.

1885   February 6 - City Councilman, David C. Kendall is fatally shot by a stray bullet fired by rival Chinese tong members.  20 Chinese are arrested.  Vigilante behavior becomes difficult to quell.  That evening a meeting was held at Centennial Hall during which a resolution was  proposed to massacre "every Chinaman" in the city.  When it fails to pass, another suggested destroying Chinatown and driving the occupants beyond city limits.

February 7 - All Chinese citizens in Eureka are loaded onto two steamers bound for San Francisco. A gallows is erected in the middle of Chinatown with a sign stating, "Any Chinaman seen on the street after 3:00 will be hung to this gallows."  On the ships, rival tongs are separated - 135 Chinese on The Humboldt, and 175 on the City of Chester.  High seas prohibits sailing until February 14th.

February 14 - Eurekans adopt three proposals declaring that all "Chinamen" be expelled from the city and not allowed to return; that a committee be appointed to act for one year to warn all Chinese who attempt to come to Eureka to live, to use all reasonable means to prevent their remaining, and in the case of a disregarded warning, to call a mass meeting of citizens who will determine the appropriate action; and that a notice be issued to all property owners requesting them not to lease or rent property to Chinese.

1886   February - Arcata adopts an anti-Chinese resolution declaring, "We, the citizens of Arcata and vicinity, wish the total expulsion of the Chinese from our midst.  We endorse the efforts of Eureka to exclude all Chinese settlements in the city and environs."  Ferndale passed a similar resolution several days later.
March - Crescent City decides to "remove all Mongolians from our midst."
April - The last group of 20 Chinese leave Arcata.  No Chinese are allowed to live in Humboldt County for the next 60 years.
1905 Asiatic Exclusion League is organized by delegates from 67 organizations who met in San Francisco to begin plans to press for legislation to halt all Japanese immigration.  Before the end of the decade, the League began lobbying or an amendment to Constitution that would deny citizenship to American-born Asians.
San Francisco School Board issues a decree that all persons of Asian ancestry must attend segregated schools in Chinatown by stating,  "Our Children should not be placed in any position where their youthful impressions may be affected by association with pupils of the Mongolian race."
1906 The Starbuck-Tallant Canning Company of Port Kenyon near Ferndale imports 23 Chinese and 4 Japanese laborers from Astoria, Oregon.  The Humboldt Times headline reads, "The Chinese must go."
October 4 - Humboldt Country Sheriff takes the newly-recruited Chinese to Gunther's Island and four days later, they were placed on The Roanoak, bound for Astoria.  The Japanese were allowed to stay  until the end o f the fishing season.

1910 Angel Island is opened to enforce immigration laws during the Asian exclusion years. From 1910-1940, at least 175,000 Asian immigrants - mostly Chinese - were detained and interrogated at Angel Island.  The average stay was 2 weeks; the longest was 2 years.  Thousands were deported.

1913 California Alien Land Law prohibits land ownership for "aliens ineligible for citizenship" - i.e., Asians - and limited their lease of agricultural land to three years.

1920 California Alien Land Law prohibits leasing land to "aliens ineligible to citizenship." By 1925, prohibited in Washington, Arizona, Oregon, Idaho, Nebraska, Texas, Kansas, Louisiana, Montana, New Mexico, Minnesota, and Missouri. During World War II, Utah, Wyoming, and Arkansas also joined.

1937 The Humboldt Times publishes a souvenir edition on its 85th anniversary which included an article, "No Oriental Colonies Have Thrived Since the Year 1885."

 Editorial on the Chinese Exclusion Act
Harper's Weekly, April 1, 1882
(click here to read this primary document)

Unit 1, Lecture 4
Immigration - An Overview and Case Study

1. We have always been, and continue to be, a nation of immigrants.  No  other nation in the world has been shaped by the political, economic, spiritual, and ideological diversity of so many immigrants.

2. Several trends are evident in federal immigration policies:

3. Federal immigration policies have been evolutionary rather than revolutionary.  Since the first law in 1790, Congress has used race, nationality, and political affiliation to discourage and prevent people from immigrating and/or becoming naturalized citizens.  Policy makers have either weakened, made exceptions to, or ignored such laws in order to provide certain economic sectors with cheap labor that white Americans are not willing to perform or are believed to be incapable of performing.

4. Federal immigration policies have failed dramatically to deal with illegal immigration - a political issue that has always been controversial but has become even more heated since the attacks of September 11, 2001.

5. Federal and State immigration policies of the 19th Century greatly influenced the opinions of Humboldt Country residents about the Chinese immigrants living in their various communities.  The intolerance sanctioned by the federal government and the California legislature, as well as the geographical isolation of Humboldt County and the central location of Eureka's Chinatown, culminated in the expulsion of Humboldt County's entire Chinese population whose culture, traditions, and standards of living were unacceptable to the larger white community.