Using the Fourteenth Amendment, the Supreme Court first ruled in favor of challenges to laws excluding the Chinese from immigrating and becoming U.S. citizens, then succumbed to popular sentiment and upheld exclusionary statutes.
In 1882 Congress enacted the first Chinese Exclusion Act
One of the most blatantly discriminatory pieces of immigration legislation in U.S. history was the aptly named Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882. This early twentieth century illustration from Puck suggests five ways in which a would-be Chinese immigrant ("John") might enter the United States in violation of the act: as an anarchist, as an Irishman, as an English wife-hunter, as a yacht racer, or as a Sicilian. The joke underlying the cartoon was the fact that all five alternative immigrant types were unpopular among native-born Americans.
The Supreme Court initially attempted to defend Chinese rights under the Fourteenth Amendment; however, as anti-Chinese sentiment grew more pronounced, it withdrew even its limited protections from Chinese immigrants. The Court defended the right of Chinese to reenter the United States in Chew Heong and Jung Ah Lung. In Chae Chan Ping, it found the Scott Act unconstitutional. However, in the three 1893 cases, it upheld a law retroactively requiring that Chinese laborers have certificates of residence or be deported.
Alien rights and naturalization
Bill of Rights
Due process, procedural
Due process, substantive
Japanese American relocation
Wong Kim Ark, United States v.
Yick Wo v. Hopkins