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U.S. Immigration Timeline

Timeline 1863-1923

1863 President Lincoln signs the Emancipation Proclamation into law, ratifying the freedom of slaves in the U.S.

1882 Chinese Exclusion Act: Chinese laborers are denied citizenship and entry into the U.S.

1891 Immigration Act establishes the Bureau of Immigration and the first comprehensive law for immigration control, directing the deportation of aliens unlawfully in the U.S.

1905 Japanese and Korean Exclusion League is formed by organized labor to protest the influx of "coolie" labor and a perceived threat to living standards of American workers.

1909 Halladjian Ruling: federal government re-classifies Armenians from Asiatics to Caucasians: "...They [Armenians] learned a little bit more English than the Japanese did and they look more American..."

1910 Mexican Revolution sends thousands of peasants to the U.S. border seeking safety and employment.

1917 Immigration Act: Mexicans are exempted from anti-immigration laws so that they can provide labor.

1918 Passport Act prevents arrival and departure without documentation. Anarchists Act provides for the deportation of alien "radicals."

1921 Emergency Immigration Restriction Law introduces a quota system that favors northern and western Europeans.

1922 Ozawa Ruling: Japanese immigrant, Takao Ozawa, challenges the Supreme Court saying he qualified for citizenship but was denied because he was not "Caucasian."

1923 U.S. vs. Bhagat Singh Thind: Supreme Court rules Asian Indians to be Caucasian and given privileges as white persons because they could "assimilate." Klu Klux Klan, a virulently anti-immigrant movement, reaches its peak strength.

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