Immigration Law 1943-1965 Asian Americans and the Law Dr. Steiner
Filipino American Population:Immigration by Decade and Immigration Law in Effect --Hing, Making and Remaking Asian America Through Immigration Policy, 1850-1990
Asian Indian American Population:Immigration by Decade and Immigration Law in Effect --Hing, Making and Remaking Asian America Through Immigration Policy, 1850-1990
Chinese American Population:Immigration by Decade and Immigration Law in Effect
Racing the Enemy • The “yellow” color race code was the branding of choice when referring to the Japanese. They were the “yellow peril,” and “yellow monkeys.” Even Time magazine in a report on Pearl Harbor used the phrase, “the yellow bastards!” The New York Times contributed with their own anti-Japanese rhetoric explaining how the Japanese “have kept their savage tradition ‘unbroken through ages eternal,’ from the fabulous age of their savage gods to the present day.” • Anthony V. Navarro,A Critical Comparison Between Japanese and American Propaganda during World War II
“Great East Asia War”December 13, 1941 • Overthrow the American and British imperialists, who have oppressed and squeezed one billion Asians, in order to establish an ideal order of co-prosperity and co-existence in East Asia.
Japanese Propaganda Leaflet • America is China’s ally. Americans say they love and admire the Chinese. But can you go to America, can you become citizens? No. Americans do not want you. They just want you to do their fighting. Their Exclusion Act names you and says you are unfit for American citizenship. . . . There will be no such discrimination against you in the Greater East Asia Co-prosperity Sphere.
“The Hypocritical and Ugly Face of the United States,” China Daily (June 24, 1943) • If the American government does not abolish the discriminatory laws against the Chinese, Asian people have no equality. . . . All Asians [must] unite together to drive away American and British imperialists from Asia in order to establish a prosperous Asia for the Asiatics.
Japanese radio broadcasts • Far from waging this war to liberate the oppressed peoples of the world, the Anglo-American leaders are trying to restore the obsolete system of imperialism.
Pearl S. Buck, Feb. 1942 • The Japanese weapon of racial propaganda in Asia is beginning to show signs of effectiveness. . . . We cannot win this war without convincing our colored allies—who are most of our allies—that we are not fighting for ourselves as continuing superior over colored peoples.
Citizens Committee to Repeal Chinese Exclusion and Place Immigration on a Quota Basis
Exclusion and Extraterritoriality • Exclusion and Extraterritoriality, Contemporary China (May 18, 1942) • “White supremacy” of American immigration laws and extraterritoriality criticized • This is No Racial War, Contemporary China (August 10, 1942) • Freedom and equality for “all the oppressed races and nations”
United States Department of StateJune 17, 1942 • Japanese campaigns of “Asia for the Asiatics” and “the colored races of the world united under Japanese leadership against the white races” could win in Asia
United States Rescinds ExtraterritorialityOct. 10, 1942 • “Extraterritoriality” was invoked by colonial powers to deprive foreign nations of jurisdiction over crimes by Westerners, who would be tried by courts constituted by their home countries such as the United States Court for China. • FDR announced that United States had decided to rescind one-sided treaties • Chiang Kai-shek responded that FDR’s action would “unquestionably . . . boost morale of our Chinese to fight against aggression continuously” and “any other actions can not compare with the abolition of the unequal treaties”
Memorandum by the Advisor on Political Relations, Department of State (June 9, 1943) • During the past forty years the Japanese, increasingly smarting under the grievance, as they saw it, of our discrimination against them as a race, made of this discrimination a diplomatic issue and used the fact of this discrimination as a springboard and a projectile of propaganda among their own people against the white race in general and the United States in particular.
Hearings on Chinese Exclusion,House Committee on Immigration and Naturalization, May/June 1943 • Six hearings with fifty-one witnesses • 42 witnesses favored repeal, arguing repeal would help the United States win the war • 9 opposed, including coalition named American Coalition who called Chinese “morally the most debased people on the face of the earth”
Representative Walter H. Judd (Rep. Minn.), 1943 • There will never be a war between the white and colored races, if only we keep the largest and strongest of them, the Chinese, with us.
FDR Special Message to CongressOct. 10, 1943 • Congress had to “take the offensive in this propaganda war and repeal the laws that insult our only ally on the mainland of Asia”
FDR, Oct. 11, 1943 • China is our ally. For many long years she stood alone in the fight against aggression. Today we fight at her side. She has continued her gallant struggle against very great odds. . . . By the repeal of the Chinese exclusion law, we can correct a historic mistake and silence the distorted Japanese propaganda.
FDR Dec. 17, 1943 • It is with particular pride and pleasure that I have today signed the bill repealing the Chinese exclusion acts. . . . An unfortunate barrier between allies has been removed. The war effort in the Far East can now be carried on with a greater vigor and a larger understanding of our common purpose.
What did the Repealer accomplish? • Quotas for Chinese immigrants (105 per year) • Chinese immigrants became eligible for naturalization
Chinese Americans and WWII • Approximately 14,000 Chinese served in U.S. Armed Forces—22% of all Chinese adult males • Harold Liu: “In the 1940s for the first time Chinese were accepted by Americans as being friends because at that time, Chinese and Americans were fighting against the Japanese and the Germans and the Nazis. Therefore, all of a sudden, we became part of the American Dream. . . . It was a whole different era and in the community we began to feel very good about ourselves.”
Filipino Americans and WWII • Bataan: “The gallant United States and Philippine forces in Bataan peninsula surrendered today after enduring the tortures of hell. They were beaten, but it was a fight that ought to make every American bow his head in tribute. . . . The Americans fought for everything they loved, as did the Filipinos.” • Carlos Bulosan: “Bataan has fallen. . .Our defeat is our victory.” • Manuel Buaken: “No longer on the streetcar do I feel myself in the presence of my enemies. We Filipinos are the same—it is Americans that have changed in their recognition of us.
1946 Changes in Immigration Law • Filipinos and Asian Indians • Naturalization and “Asiatic Barred Zone” immigration restrictions lifted • 100 person quota for each year established • No quota for spouses and children of citizens • Chinese • Annual quota of 105 remained in place, but nonquota status extended to Chinese wives of citizens
McCarran-Walter Act (1952) • Reaffirmed the basic provisions of the national origins quota system; seventy percent of all immigrant slots allotted to natives of United Kingdom, Ireland, and Germany • Annual ceiling for all immigration set at 154,277. • Immigration and naturalization exclusions against Asians were abolished • The act gave preferences (within the national origins quotas) to foreigners with education or skills (fifty percent), as well as relatives (twenty percent)
McCarran-Walter Act and American Foreign Policy • This bill would make all persons, regardless of race, eligible for naturalization, and would set up minimum quotas for aliens now barred for racial reasons. Thus, persons of Japanese, Korean, Indonesian, etc., ancestry could be admitted and naturalized as any other qualified alien. No doubt this will have a favorable effect on our international relations, particularly in the Far East. American exclusion policy has long been resented there and, in the eyes of qualified observers, was an important factor in the anti-American feeling in Japan prior to the last World War. • House Judiciary Committee Report (1952)
McCarran-Walter and Asia-Pacific Triangle • Asia-Pacific Triangle included all countries from India to Japan and all Pacific islands north of Australia • Maximum quota for Triangle set at 2000, with annual quotas of 100 for the nineteen countries within Triangle
McCarran-Walter Act and Race:Minority Report • Complete adoption of the principle that an alien be chargeable to the quota of his country of birth, regardless of race, on the other hand, would enhance our Nation’s moral leadership in the world and, in particular, would strengthen our prestige in the critical areas of Asia and the lands of the Pacific where the struggle between democracy and communism rages most fiercely in the minds of men. The gain to us may be the lives of millions of our sons.
Pat McCarran (Dem., Nevada)Harms of Increased Asian Immigration, 1952 • [T]he cold, hard truth is that in the United States today there are hard-core, indigestible blocs who have not become integrated into the American way of life, but who, on the contrary, are its deadly enemy. The cold, hard truth, Mr. President, is that today, as never before, untold millions are storming our gates for admission; and those gates are cracking under the strain. The cold, hard fact is, too, Mr. President, that this Nation is the last hope of western civilization; and if this oasis of the world shall be overrun, perverted, contaminated, or destroyed, then the last flickering light of humanity will be extinguished.
Harry S Truman’s Veto Message of McCarran-Walter Act • These are only a few examples of the absurdity, the cruelty of carrying over into this year of 1952 the isolationist limitations of our 1924 law. In no other realm of our national life are we so hampered and stultified by the dead hand of the past, as we are in this field of immigration. • Veto overriden.
JFK on “National Origins”July 23, 1963 • It neither satisfies a national need nor accomplishes an international purpose. In an age of interdependence among nations, such a system is an anachronism for it discriminates among applicants for admission into the United States on the basis of the accident of birth.
Wait Lists under McCarran-Walter • When visas weren’t available, an alien could be placed on a waiting list • When 1965 Act passed, the largest backlog for visas was in Italy and Greece • But 40,000 were on the Chinese wait list, which meant a wait of 380 years because of a quota set at 105
The Hart-Celler Act of 1965 • Abolished the national origins quota system • Allocated 170,000 visas to countries in the Eastern Hemisphere and 120,000 to countries in the Western Hemisphere. • This increased the annual ceiling on immigrants from 150,000 to 290,000. • Each Eastern Hemisphere country was allowed an allotment of 20,000 visas, while in the Western Hemisphere there was no per-country limit. • Non-quota immigrants and immediate relatives (i.e., spouses, minor children, and parents of U.S. citizens over the age of 21) were not to be counted as part of either the hemispheric or country ceiling. • Three Decades of Mass Immigration (Center for Immigration Studies, 1995)
Hart-Celler Act • No person shall receive any preference or priority or be discriminated against in the issuance of an immigrant visa because of his race, sex, nationality, place of birth, or place of residence. . . .
Immigration and Foreign Policy • Representative John Lindsay, 1965 [T]his nation has committed itself to the defense of the independence of South Vietnam. Yet the quota for that country of 15 million is exactly 100. Apparently we are willing to risk a major war for the right of the Vietnamese people to live in freedom at the same time our quota system makes it clear that we do not want very great numbers of them to live with us.
Gabriel Chin,The Civil Rights Revolution Comes to Immigration Law (1996) • The revolutionary feature of the 1965 Act was its elimination of race and national origin as selection criteria for new Americans. Race neutrality was a significant development for American immigration law . . . . The 1965 Act represents a high-water mark for opponents of immigration restriction. They celebrate the humane spirit of the 88th and 89th Congresses which, in two remarkable years, passed the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965, and the 1965 immigration law. Diversification of the immigrant stream is, from this perspective, no less a civil rights triumph than is equal opportunity under law in the voting booth or in the workplace. The elimination of race as a factor was a practical as well as symbolic change. Since 1965, upwards of seventy-five percent of immigrants have been from Asia, Africa, or Central or South America.
LBJ at Signing Ceremony for Hart-Celler of 1965 • This system violates the basic principle of American democracy–the principle that values and rewards each man on the basis of his merit as a man. It has been un-American in the highest sense, because it has been untrue to the faith that brought thousands to these shores even before we were a country.
Civil Rights and Immigration • The national origins quotas and the Asian-Pacific triangle provisions are irrational, arrogantly intolerant, and immoral. • Senator Joseph Clark (Dem. Pa.), 1965
Immigration and Civil Rights • I would consider the amendments to the Immigration and Nationality Act to be as important as the landmark legislation of this Congress relating to the Civil Rights Act. The central purpose of the administration's immigration bill is to once again undo discrimination and to revise the standards by which we choose potential Americans in order to be fairer to them and which will certainly be more beneficial to us. • Rep. Robert Sweeney (D-OH) (Aug. 25, 1965)