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A church register of marriages
Beginning in 1901, California prohibited white people
from marrying non-whites. Rosario Perez was considered white, but not
Purn Saikhon. So they drove 70 miles to Arizona, where the law still allowed
marriage between people of different skin colors. At the El Centro
courthouse, clerks sympathetic to the couples, began to improvise.
Some Punjabi-Mexican couples were designated "white," some "colored,"
some "Indian." Whatever it took to get a judge to sign.
Subsequently other Mexican women and Punjabi Indians
were forced to find court clerks and other states that were sympathetic
to their cause.
1922 The Cable Act (42 Stat. 1021) specified "that any woman citizen who marries an alien ineligible to citizenship shall cease to be a citizen of the U.S."