Timeline of Chinese immigration to the United States

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This timeline covers Chinese immigration to the United States, including both temporary and permanent migration. Among the topics discussed are: migration patterns, source and target regions of migration, laws (U.S. federal and state, and Chinese) that target or significantly affect migration patterns, court cases and administrative/bureaucratic developments affecting migration.

Full timeline

Year Month and date (if available) Event type Affected region Details
1644 Regime change China The Qing dynasty takes over control of China from the Ming dynasty, and maintains the capital at Beijing. Resistance to the Qing, initially led by the deposed Ming, builds in South China, mainly the province of Guangdong. After the Ming resistance is killed off, dissatisfaction with the Qing dynasty continues, and interest in alternative systems is developed through the exchange of goods and ideas carried out via the ports in the South China Sea, such as the Port of Guangdong. In the 19th century, the residents of Guangdong and nearby southern provinces, such as Fujian, develop interest in the United States, due to a mix of its wealth, novel system of government, and success at overthrowing its imperial overlords the British.[1]
1815 Beginning of migration California Migration from China to the United States begins at a very small scale, along with the opening of trade between China and the United States. See the Wikipedia page History of Chinese Americans for more context.
1834 Beginning of migration New York City Afong Moy is the first Chinese woman to arrive in the United States. She is brought from her home town of Guangzhou to New York City by Nathaniel and Frederick Carne, who exhibit her as "the Chinese Lady".[2][3]
1839–1842 War China The First Opium War occurs, culminating in the highly unequal Treaty of Nanking. The war disproportionately impacts South China, including the provinces that would see significant emigration to the United States in later years, though its causal role is unclear. The war also leads to negative views of the British in South China, although the negative views do not extend to the American, for whom some affinity remains given their success at achieving independence from the British.[1]
1842–1900 Missionary activity China Protestant missions in China become more active following the opening of ports as a result of the Treaty of Nanking. These help spread Christianity in China and make some Chinese more familiar with the English language.
1844 July 3 Treaty United States The Treaty of Wanghia is signed at the Kun Iam Temple between the United States of America (represented by Caleb Cushing, a lawyer dispatched by President John Tyler) and Keying, the Viceroy of Liangguang, representing the Qing Empire that rules China.[4] It would be ratified by United States President John Tyler on January 17, 1845.[4] The treaty is an unequal treaty, and its 34 articles deal with assuring the rights of US ships, traders, and citizens in China. Reciprocal rights of Chinese traders and citizens in the United States are not covered. Subsequent treaties would be more equal.
1848 January Beginning of migration California Gold is discovered in California, leading to a California Gold Rush. A number of people from China arrive in the United States to participate in the Gold Rush. Before 1848, the total number of Chinese in the United States is only 325; soon, annual immigration from China exceeds this amount.[5]
1848 February Jurisdictional definitions and boundaries California The Mexican–American War concludes, and Alta California (which includes the modern U.S. state of California, plus nearby regions) is established to be part of the United States.
1849 Organization California (San Francisco) The Chew Yick Association, one of the earliest organizations of Chinese in the United States, elects Norman As-sing, a prominent Chinese merchant, as their leader. Allegedly an American citizen naturalized in Charleston, South Carolina and converted to Christianity, As-sing acts as a bridge between Chinese and American cultures.[6]
1849 December 20 Leadership change California Peter Burnett becomes the first Governor of California as a state.[7] Burnett would play a key role in setting the state's initial exclusionary policies towards non-whites, especially Chinese, with his championing of a $20 Foreign Miners Tax.
1850–1871 War China The Taiping Rebellion occurs during this time. The rebels are mostly based in South China, including the provinces of Guangdong and Fujian, which are the main emigration sources at the time. The Taiping Rebellion has been linked by some scholars to the increase in emigration around this time, though the link is controversial.[1][8]
1850 Settlement California (San Francisco) Chinatown, San Francisco begins to be formed, as Chinese settle in the area (partly because of being unable to move into other parts of the city).
1850 September 9 Jurisdictional definitions and boundaries California The state of California comes into formal existence as part of the Compromise of 1850.
1850 April 13 Tax California The state of California passes a Foreign Miners Tax Act imposing a tax of $20/month on foreign miners in California, which has an effect on Chinese as well as miners from Europe and other countries in the Americas.[9][10][11] The Act is approved by the legislature and signed into law by Peter Burnett, who is one of the proponents of exclusionary policies toward Chinese.[12][13] Of the money, the tax collector would receive $3 and the remainder would be split between the county and state governments.[14]:468 Signed into law on April 13, 1850, the Act would be published in California newspapers over the next two weeks.[15]:210 The tax leads to protests from French, Mexican, and Peruvian miners. The state fails to raise the expected revenues from the tax, as many miners leave the state of California, some going to other states and some returning to their home countries.[14]:468[16]:50[17]
1851 January 9 Leadership change California John McDougall (sometimes spelled John McDougal) succeeds Peter Burnett as California governor.[18] Unlike his predecessor and successor, McDougall has a favorable view of Chinese immigration, and sees it as a way to cope with California's labor shortage, proposing to employ Chinese immigrants in projects to reclaim swamps and flooded lands.[6]
1851 Tax California The Foreign Miners' Tax is repealed, after failing to raise sufficient revenue, and causing impoverishment among miners, making them flee to cities with no money.[11][10] One source credits the repeal to lobbying from white real estate owners in Tuolomne County (who are concerned about the drop in rents and prices as miners leave the area).[14]:468
1851 Organization California (San Francisco) Tong K. Achick arrives in San Francisco. He knew some English and some American customs from mission schools in China. He would go on to found the Yeong Wo Association for immigrants from his native district of Heung Shan.[6]
1852 January 8 Leadership change California John Bigler succeeds John McDougall as California governor. Unlike McDougal, Bigler wants to stop Chinese immigration and encourage existing Chinese to leave. He would play a key role in taxes and other legislation attempting to drive Chinese out of California.
1852 Late April Violence, ultimatum California (Yuba County) A miners' convention meeting at Foster and Atchinson's General Store in Yuba County leads to the issuing of an an ultimatum stating that no Chinese miner can hold a mining claim after May 1 and none can remain in the county after May 3. However, violence against Chinese erupts even before them, leading to the Chinese being forced out.[16]:62[6]
1852 April 25 Speech/writing California California governor John Bigler delivers a Special Address on Asiatic Emigration, arguing against Chinese immigration and justify the Foreign Miners' Tax of $3/month that was being passed at the time.[19][20][21] Over and above the stated tax burden, many Chinese have to bear a much larger tax burden due to the problem of multiple fake tax collectors demanding payment.[16]:59
1852 May 5 Speech/writing California (San Francisco) Norman As-sing, leader of the Chew Yick Association, writes an open letter to California governor John Bigler, published in Daily Alta California. The letter, a response to Bigler's April 25 Special Address on Asiatic Emigration, challenges the idea of immigration restrictions against the Chinese, highlights the rich cultural history and contributions of Chinese, and argues for equal treatment with an appeal to the United States founding principles.[22][19]
1852 May 8 Ultimatum California (Columbia, Shasta County) At the second Columbia Miners Convention, the attending white miners declared that "no Asiatic or South Sea Islander shall be permitted to mine in this district either for himself or for others." The miners' underlying frustrations stem from the dwindling of gold reserves, the supplanting of individual miners by larger corporations (as more expensive tools become necessary once the low-hanging fruit is plucked), and competition from Chinese miners.[6][23][16]:63-64
1852 Tax California The state of California imposes a Foreign Miners' License Tax of $3/month on foreign miners. The tax is signed into law by and enthusiastically supported by Governor John Bigler. The amount of the tax would increase gradually, to $4/month in 1853, and then again to $6/month in 1855, set to increase by $2/month each year. In 1856, the state legislature reset the amount at $4/month. The amount would eventually get to $20/month in 1870, at which point it would be repealed.[10][24][9][14]:469[25]
1854 Court case California In People v. Hall, George Hall is accused of murdering a foreign miner Ling Sing, but all witnesses are Chinese. The court rejects their testimony, arguing that Section 394 (which forbade Indians and blacks from testifying against whites) also forbade Chinese from testifying againt whites. The opinion is delivered in 1854 by Chief Justice Hugh Murray with the concurrence of Justice Solomon Heydenfeldt.[26][27][16]:67-68
1854 Prostitution California (San Francisco) Chinese madam Ah Toy shuts down her business in response to the decision in People v. Hall. She had previously used the threat of the law to protect herself from clients who harassed her, but this would no longer be possible. See Ah Toy on Wikipedia for more.
1855 Speech/writing California (San Francisco) A response in Chinese to Governor Bigler's Special Message, with a translation to English, is published. The original Chinese version was written by the Lai Chun-Chuen, the Chinese Merchant Exchange. In addition to disputing Governor Bigler's characterization, the Chinese merchants threaten reciprocal action against American citizens residing in China.[28][16]:61-62
1855 January, February Ultimatum, Violence California (Shasta County) In January, white miners issue an ultimatum to Chinese to stop working in the country, and to white men to stop employing Chinese labor. The deadline is specified as February 25. The Chinese refuse to leave, leading to a mob of white men chasing Chinese out at gunpoint. Clay Stockton (the new Sheriff)[29] chases the white mob and arrests many of its members, but is unable to keep them locked up as a scared judge releases the prisoners.[16]:41-43
1855 April 28 Tax California The California state legislature passes an Act to Discourage the Immigration to the State of Persons who cannot Become Citizens thereof, imposing a $50 tax on the owner of the arriving ship or vessel for each migrant on board the vessel who is not eligible for United States citizen. In particular, this law applies to Chinese immigrants, since naturalization is currently restricted to free white persons (by the Naturalization Act of 1790). The Act goes in effect on September 1.[30][16]:58 The tax would be declared unconstitutional by the California Supreme Court in 1857.[25]
1858 Treaty United States With the conclusion of the Second Opium War, the Treaty of Tientsin is signed between China, France, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The complicated treaty requires China to continue to open its ports to Western access, and in turn, the Chinese have access to Western ports.[31]
1858 Settlement New York City Businessman Ah Ken arrives in New York City and sets up cigar stores around this time, marking the beginnings of Chinatown, Manhattan.
1858 October 1 Legislation California The California state legislature passes a law forbidding Chinese individuals from landing in California except in emergency circumstances, and asserting that it had the right to exclude any class of foreigners deemed obnoxious to California's social or political interests.[16]:58-59 The law would be declared unconstitutional by the California Supreme Court in 1862.[25]
1859 Ultimatum, Violence California (Shasta City, Shasta County) The "Shasta Wars" occur -- a battle between white miners who seek to evict Chinese, against Chinese miners who refuse to vacate and Sheriff Clay Stockton, keen to maintain law and order. White miners convene at Brannan's General Store on Middle Creek in the Siskiyous for the Shasta Miners Convention, and on February 5 issue an ultimatum to Chinese to vacate the area in three weeks. Chinese refuse to leave, and a gang of white miners attacks their claims. Four days later, they attack rich Chinese claims close to Shasta City. Sheriff Stockton disperses the mob and frees about 200 Chinese. After securing more ammunition from the Governor John Weller, Stockton manages to suppress the gang violence, causing Chinese to celebrate. However, Chinese mostly leave the area by 1860, and Justice Keene declares all the rioters arrested by Stockton "not guilty".[32][16]:43-44
1859 Court case California In People v. Elyea, the precedent of People v. Hall is overturned, and it is established that tawny skin color is not a reliable measure of competence to serve as witness or testify in court, and cannot be used as a foolproof proxy for race.[33]:3061[16]:68
1860 Speech/writing California Pun Chi, a young Chinese merchant, delivers an impassioned appeal to the United States Congress, arguing against the decision in People v. Hall. The speech is translated from Chinese to English in 1870 by William Speer, a Presbyterian minister and missionary in San Francisco’s Chinatown.[34]
1862 February 19 Legislation United States The 37th United States Congress passes a law, known as the Anti-Coolie Act, forbidding participation by American citizens in the "coolie" trade from China, namely, trade in bonded Chinese labor. The Act also reinforces existing regulations on the conditions of transportation (as codified previously in modifications to the Steerage Act of 1819 and in the Carriage of Passengers Act of 1855).[35][16]:58-59
1862 April 26 Tax California California passes the Chinese Police Tax Law, levying a $2.50 fee on all Chinese living in the state, with a few exceptions (those engaged in production of specific goods including sugar, rice, coffee, and tea. The Law exemplifies the expansion of anti-Chinese sentiments beyond mining, as the California economy becomes less focused on mining, and Chinese competition in other industries is resented.[25][36][37]
1863 Connectivity United States Work begins on the First Transcontinental Railroad, connecting Northern California with the East Coast. The increased connectivity would result in Chinese immigrants moving to other parts of the country beyond California, and would make Chinese immigration a more salient federal issue, rather than merely a California state issue.
1863 Settlement California (Los Angeles) Chinatown, Los Angeles begins to form as Chinese begin to move to Los Angeles to work on the railroad.
1868 July 28 Treaty United States The treaty that would later be known as the Burlingame Treaty is ratified in Washington, D.C. The treaty amends the Treaty of Tientsin by making relations between China and the United States more equal. The United States grants China most favored nation status. The treaty affirms that each country must allow people from the other country to migrate to it, but the privilege of naturalization is withheld.[38][39]
1869 May 10 Connectivity United States The First Transcontinental Railroad is completed, with the two teams working on the railroad from the west and east respectively meeting in Utah.
1869 December 28 Labor union United States The Knights of Labor, a progressive labor union, is founded by Uriah Stephens.[40] The union plays an important role in the United States labor movement. Althought inclusive of women and blacks well ahead of public opinion, the union embraces anti-Chinese sentiment.[41]
1871 October 24 Violence California (Los Angeles) The Chinese massacre of 1871 occurs in Los Angeles, California. 500 people enter Chinatown to attack, rob, and murder Chinese residents. An estimated 17 to 20 Chinese are tortured and hanged, making the event the largest mass lynching in American history.[42][43]
1873 Legislation with disparate impact California (San Francisco) The Pigtail Ordinance is passed with a narrow margin by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, but vetoed by the Mayor.
1875 March 3 Legislation United States The Page Act of 1875, the first restrictive federal immigration law, passes. It forbids the immigration of forced laborers from Asia, Asian women suspected of potentially engaging in prostitution, and all people considered convicts in their own country.
1876 January 13–14 (argument), March 20 (decision) Court case United States In Chy Lung v. Freeman, the United States Supreme Court rules that the power to set rules surrounding immigration, and to manage foreign relations, rests with the federal government. The case is a lawsuit by Chinese women forbidden entry at San Francisco by the immigration commissioner who considers them "lewd and debauched women."[44][45][46][47]
1876 April Organization California (Sacramento) The Supreme Order of Caucasians is formed in Sacramento, California to drive Chinese out of the United States. It grows to 64 chapters called "camps" statewide with about 5,000 members.[16]
1880 November 17 Treaty United States The Angell Treaty of 1880, formally known as the Treaty Regulating Immigration from China, passes in Beijing. The treaty would be ratified by the United States President on May 9, 1881, the ratification exchange would happen on July 19, 1881, and the proclamation would happen on October 5, 1881.[48][49][50][51]
1882 May 6 Legislation United States The Chinese Exclusion Act is signed into law by United States President Chester A. Arthur after passing both chambers of the 47th United States Congress.
1882 Organization California (San Francisco) The Chinese Six Companies, that are already operating in San Francisco to provide various benefits, protections, and oversight to people of Chinese origin in the area, form a Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association.
1883 Organization New York City The Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association of New York City forms.
1884 May 5 Legislation United States The Chinese Exclusion Act is amended to require any Chinese leaving the United States to obtain re-entry certificates; those who do not present a re-entry certificate when re-entering will not be allowed to re-enter.[52]
1884 October 30 (argument), December 8 (decision) Restriction United States Chew Heong v. United States is decided in favor of the plaintiff. The case involves a Chinese plaintiff who resided in the United States and left it before the requirement to obtain re-entry certificates was added to the Chinese Exclusion Act. The requirement was added before his return, and he was denied entry. He sued contesting the denial, and the Court ruled in his favor.[53]
1885 February Violence California (Eureka, Humboldt County) Chinese residents are expelled en masse from Eureka, California.[16]:227
1885 September 2 Violence Wyoming (Rock Springs, Sweetwater County) The Rock Springs Massacre, also known as the Rock Springs Riot, a riot between Chinese immigrant miners and white immigrant miners, occurs at Rock Springs in Sweetwater County, Wyoming, due to racial tensions created by an ongoing labor dispute over the Union Pacific Coal Department's policy of paying Chinese miners less than white miners, and giving them a preference in hiring. The riot, instigated by white miners, leads to at least 28 (and likely more) Chinese miners dead, and many non-fatal injuries. There is some speculation that the Knights of Labor organization is connected to the riots, but no definitive evidence.
1885 September 7 Violence Washington (Squak Valley, now Issaquah) The Attack on Squak Valley Chinese laborers, 1885 occurs.
1885 November 3 Violence Washington (Tacoma) The Tacoma Riot of 1885 occurs. The city of Tacoma had proposed a November 1 deadline for the Chinese population to leave the city. On November 3, two days after the deadline, an angry mob consisting of prominent businessmen, law enforcement, and political leaders marches Chinese residents to the railroad station and forces them to board a train to Portland. In the following days, structures belonging to the now expelled Chinese residents are razed.[54][55]
1886 January 21 Court case United States Wing Hing v. City of Eureka is filed by Depuy U.S. Marshal B. J. Alerman on behalf of Wing Hing, representing 50 Chinese expelled from Eureka in 1885, against the City of Eureka for its role in expelling the Chinese. Papers are served to Mayor Tom Walsh of Eureka, who had chaired the meeting that led to the expulsion of Chinese. The case attracts considerable attention, with newspapers expressing concern that a victory for the appellant would lead to similar lawsuits against many other California cities.[16]:226-227 The appellants lost the case.[16]:236-237
1886 February 6–9 Violence Washington (Seattle) The Seattle riot of 1886 occurs after a Knights of Labor chapter attempts forcible expulsion of all Chinese from the city. Violence occurs between chapter members and federal troops ordered in by President Grover Cleveland.
1886 April 14 (argument), May 10 (decision) Court case United States Yick Wo v. Hopkins is decided in favor of the plaintiff, and is the first case where the United States Supreme Court rules that a law that is race-neutral on its face, but is administered in a prejudicial manner, is an infringement of the Equal Protection Clause in the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. The plaintiff is a Chinese laundry operator in San Francisco who, like almost all other Chinese laundry operators, has his request for a permit denied. He sues after he is fined for operating a laundry without a permit.
1887 May Violence Oregon (Wallowa County) The Hells Canyon Massacre occurs, with 34 Chinese miners ambushed and murdered. The site of the violence is renamed Chinese Massacre Cove in 2005, and a memorial is placed there in 3 languages in 2012.[56]
1888 January 9 (argument), February 13 (decision) Court case United States United States v. Jung Ah Lung is decided in favor of Jung Ah Lung. Jung Ah Lung is a Chinese laborer who departed the United States on October 24, 1883, after living there for some time, and took with him a certificate of identification while departing, but his certificate was lost or stolen while in China. Upon attempting re-entry, he is initially denied entry, so he files a writ of habeas corpus. The case is taken to the Supreme Court and he wins.[57]
1888 October 1 Legislation United States The Scott Act is signed into law by President Grover Cleveland. Its main author is legislator William Lawrence Scott of Pennsylvania. The legislation forbids Chinese laborers who had been in the United States, both those currently abroad and those who planned future trips, from re-entering the United States. It leaves an estimates 20,000 to 30,000 Chinese stranded.[58][59] The Act is passed unilaterally by the United States government after the failure of the Bayard–Zhang Treaty due to its unpopularity in China, particularly Guangdong province.[58][60]
1889 March 28–29 (argument) May 13 (decision) Court case United States Chae Chan Ping v. United States is decided in favor of the United States government. The case is filed by Chae Chan Ping, a Chinese who had been living in the United States, and left for a visit to China before the Scott Act was passed, but tried to return after the Scott Act passed and was denied entry.[61][62] The decision would be an important precedent both for establishing the federal government's discretionary power over immigration and upholding the government's authority to pass and enforce legislation contradictory to the terms of past international treaties (the treaty in question being the Burlingame Treaty of 1868).
1891 March 3 Legislation United States The Immigration Act of 1891 is passed. While primarily dealing with migration of non-Chinese and general enforcement provisions, the enforcement apparatus here would also be somewhat relevant to immigration enforcement against the Chinese.
1891 April 10 (argument), May 11 (decision) Court case United States Wan Shing v. United States is decided in favor of the United States government, upholding the validity of the Chinese Exclusion Act and Scott Act.[63]
1892 January 14 (argument), March 14 (decision) Court case United States Lau Ow Bew v. United States is decided in favor of Lau Ow Beow, the petitioner. A Chinese businessman who has lived in the United States for 17 years, Lau Ow Beow is denied re-entry because he did not obtain a re-entry certificate per the 1884 amendment to the Chinese Exclusion Act (the Chinese Exclusion Act and Scott Act do not forbid him since they only exclude laborers). The Supreme Court rules that the need for businessmen to obtain re-entry certificates is unclear, and decides the government must allow him re-entry.[52]
1892 May 5 Legislation United States The Geary Act, written by California Congressman Thomas J. Geary, becomes law. In addition to extending the Chinese Exclusion Act's prohibition on migration of Chinese laborers for another ten years, the Act also begins requiring Chinese in the United States to obtain and keep "certificates of residence" to demonstrate that they have been present in the United States since before immigration of Chinese laborers was banned. After Ny Look, a Chinese civil war veteran, is arrested for failure to obtain a certification, Judge Emile Henry Lacombe of the U.S. Circuit Court in the Southern District of New York, ruled in In re Ny Look that there are no deportation provisions in the law and Look could not be detained indefinitely therefore he should be released. This leads to the McCreary Amendment, giving Chinese an additional six months to register, and changing some of the requirements for certificates.
1893 May 10 (argument), May 15 (decision) Court case United States Fong Yue Ting v. United States is decided in favor of the United States government. The case challenges the validity of the "certificates of residence" requirements of the Geary Act; the plaintiffs are people who were arrested for failing to obtain the certificates of residence. The plaintiffs' argument is rejected, and the Geary Act is upheld.[64][65][66][67][68][69]
1894 August 18 Legislation United States The Appropriation Act contains a section on the enforcement of the Chinese Exclusion Act, which in particular emphasizes the nonreviewability of decisions of inspectors at ports of entry. It says: "In every case where an alien is excluded from admission into the United States under any law or treaty now existing or hereafter made, the decision of the appropriate immigration or custom officers, if adverse to the admission of such alien, shall be final unless reversed on appeal to the Secretary of the Treasury."[70]
1895 April 18–19 (argument), May 27 (decision) Court case United States The case Lem Moon Sing v. United States is decided against the plaintiff, a Chinese businessperson who is denied re-entry after a trip to China. The Chinese Exclusion Act only forbids laborers. However, due to the enforcement provision for the Chinese Exclusion Act included in the Appropriations Act of 1894, the Supreme Court decides against the appellant, while taking no position on the merits of the claim.[70]
1898 March 5, 8 (1897) (argument), March 28 (decision) Court case United States The case United States v. Wong Kim Ark is decided by the United States Supreme Court, reaching the conclusion that a child born of parents of Chinese descent, living in the United States and carrying out business, and not employed in a diplomatic capacity, automatically becomes a citizen of the United States. It establishes a precedent in interpreting the Citizenship Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.
1902 Legislation United States The Chinese Exclusion Act and Geary Act are extended indefinitely.
1905 April 3 (argument), May 8 (decision) Court case United States The case United States v. Ju Toy is decided by the United States Supreme Court in favor of the United States government. Ju Toy, a United States citizen of Chinese descent, is denied re-entry after a visit to China, but the United States Supreme Court does not overturn the decision, because the law states that the decision of the inspector at the port of entry cannot be overturned. This is an important case in cementing judicial deference and an early precursor to the consular nonreviewability and plenary power doctrines.
1906 April 18 Disaster California (San Francisco) The 1906 San Francisco earthquake leads to a number of city government records getting destroyed. This leads to the growth of a form of immigration fraud: Chinese present in the United States claim they are United States citizens, and they try to bring over younger Chinese by claiming those younger Chinese are their children; these children are known as paper sons and paper daughters.
1910 January 21 Port of entry California (San Francisco Bay Area) The Angel Island Immigration Station becomes operational. Immigrants arriving by sea on the West Coast of the United States would be required to pass through Angel Island. Unlike its East Coast counterpart, Ellis Island, Angel Island would have a high rejection rate, partly because Chinese seeking to enter would be subject to heavy scrutiny.
1943 December 17 Legislation United States The Magnuson Act (also known as the Chinese Exclusion Repeal Act), a legislation proposed by Warren G. Magnuson of Washington, becomes law. The Act repeals the Chinese Exclusion Act, but the new quota of annual Chinese immigration is set at 105, based on a (flawed) use of the National Origins Formula of the Immigration Act of 1924. Also, restrictions on property ownership by Chinese are not overturned.
1956 United States The Immigration and Naturalization Services begin the Chinese Confession Program that seeks confessions of illegal entry and fake family trees from people in the United States of Chinese origin and descent, in exchange with (somewhat misleading) offers of legalization.[71][72] The program would continue until 1965, when the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 would be passed.
1965 October 3 Legislation United States The Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965, also known as the Hart–Celler Act is passed, overturning the old National Origins Formula and using a system of global and per-country quotas that would be less restrictive for Chinese (though still putting them at a disadvantage relative to other countries because the quotas do not scale with the country's population). The Act would become effective June 30, 1968.
1990 April 11 Executive order United States President George H. W. Bush issues Executive Order 12711 in response to concerns about the harassment of Chinese dissidents in the wake of the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989. The executive order defers deportation of Chinese nationals and their direct dependents who were in the US between 5 June 1989 and 11 April 1990, waives the two-year home country residence requirement, and gives employment authorization through January 1, 1994.
1992 October 9 Legislation United States The Chinese Student Protection Act is signed into law by President George H. W. Bush, affirming Executive Order 12711 passed by President Bush to defer deportations of Chinese nationals in response to the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989.
1993 June 6 Disaster New York (Rockaway Beach, Queens, New York) The Golden Venture, a ship smuggling 286 people seeking unlawful entry into the United States, as well as 13 crew members, runs aground on the beach at Fort Tilden in Rockaway Beach in Queens, New York after a mutiny of sorts by one smuggler who had locked up the captain. The people on board the ship are mainly from Fujian province of China. Of the survivors, some would be granted immediate asylum, and some would be deported. The final 52 persons would be released by Bill Clinton on February 27, 1997.
2014 November Consular affairs United States, China The United States and China update some of their visa reciprocity, so that the United States now issues 5-year multiple-entry visas. This is expected to reduce the number of times Chinese need to acquire visas, particularly long-term visitors such as students as well as people frequently traveling for business trips.[73][74]

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Unincorporated references:

https://www.jstor.org/stable/41169382

http://www.npr.org/sections/codeswitch/2017/05/05/527091890/the-135-year-bridge-between-the-chinese-exclusion-act-and-a-proposed-travel-ban