Welcome to Scribd, the world's digital library. Read, publish, and share books and documents. See more
Standard view
Full view
of .
Look up keyword
Like this
0 of .
Results for:
No results containing your search query
P. 1
Erika Lee - At America's Gates (2003) - Synopsis

Erika Lee - At America's Gates (2003) - Synopsis

Ratings: (0)|Views: 1,940|Likes:
Published by Mark K. Jensen
Synopsis of Erika Lee, At America’s Gates: Chinese Immigration during the Exclusion Era, 1882-1943 (Chapel Hill & London: University of North Carolina Press, 2003). Discussed at Digging Deeper (www.ufppc.org) on August 20, 2007.
Synopsis of Erika Lee, At America’s Gates: Chinese Immigration during the Exclusion Era, 1882-1943 (Chapel Hill & London: University of North Carolina Press, 2003). Discussed at Digging Deeper (www.ufppc.org) on August 20, 2007.

More info:

Published by: Mark K. Jensen on May 21, 2009
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


Read on Scribd mobile: iPhone, iPad and Android.
download as DOC, PDF, TXT or read online from Scribd
See more
See less





UFPPC (www.ufppc.org) Digging Deeper XXXIV @ Mandolin Café (Tacoma, WA)August 20, 2007, 7:00 p.m.
Erika Lee,
 At America’s Gates: Chinese Immigration during the Exclusion Era,1882-1943
(Chapel Hill & London: University of North Carolina Press,2003).
Author’s ancestors’experiences (1-5). Her early fascination withthe subject (5-6). Book organized around“America’s gates,” esp. San Francisco (7-8).Other scholarly studies (8-9). Summary of book (9-13). Author the first to makeextensive use of immigration archives atbranch of National Archives in San Bruno, CA(13-18).
The issuearose in California in the 1870s (19-20).Race was the principal factor, whichchallenges the naïve paradigm of America as“a nation of immigrants” (20-22).
Ch. 1: The Chinese Are Coming. HowCan We Stop Them? Chinese Exclusionand the Origins of AmericanGatekeeping.
H.N. Clement of SanFrancisco told a California Senate committeein 1876: “How can we get rid of them? . . .How can we stop them?” (23). Page Act of 1875 aimed at Asian contract labor andwomen entering for “lewd or immoralpurposes” (24). Citing Lucy Salyer: it andthe Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 “providedthe legal architecture for twentieth-centuryAmerican immigration policy” (24). Anti-Chinese racism (25). Economic fears (26).Sexual and gender fears (26-27). Fear of miscegenation (27-29). Regional factors(American West) (29-30). Chinese exclusiongenerated “concepts of race” that provided aframework used to excluded subsequentgroups (30-39). It shaped subsequentimmigration regulation (40-43). Subsequentlegislation (43-45). The historical experienceestablished both future “rhetoric and tools”(46).
Ch. 2: The Keepers of the Gate: U.S.Immigration Officials and ChineseExclusion.
Low-level administrative officialsbecame de facto makers of policy thatresponded to “the anti-Chinese politicspermeating San Francisco at the end of the19
century” (47-48). Immigration controlbecame the U.S. Customs Service’s job (49).Interaction with politicians and publicpressure, including the threat of mobviolence, led to “the strictest interpretationpossible” of the laws to be enforced (49-51). John H. Wise, zealous anti-Chinese collectorof customs at S.F. (52-54). James R. Dunn,chief inspector (55-57). Biases weresystematically built into procedures (57-58).Racist prohibitions interfered with hiringcompetent interpreters (58-63). S.F. wasregarded as the model for the nation (63-64). Terence V. Powderly, U.S. commissioner-general of immigration, 1898-1902 (64-66).Frank P. Sargent, 1902-08 (67). Victor H.Metcalf, U.S. secretary of commerce andlabor (67-68). In 1905, in the
 Ju Toy 
ruling,the Supreme Court “barred all Chinese,including those claiming U.S. citizenship,from appealing the bureau’s decisions in thecourts (68). In 1900 the Bureau of Immigration took official control of immigration, and by 1910 a “centralizedagency of career civil servants” haddeveloped (68). In part, this was a responseto Chinese complaints and pressure (69).Angel Island, which opened on Jan. 21, 1910,was administered with less overt prejudice,but the attitudes were built into theenforcement system (70-73). Nativism wasstrong at national HQ; cf. Anthony Caminetti,commissioner-general of immigration from1913 to 1920 (73-74).
AngelIsland became essentially a detention center,“a physical manifestation of the Chineseexclusion laws,” very different from EllisIsland, a processing center (75-76).
Ch. 3: Exclusion Acts: Race, Class,Gender, and Citizenship in theEnforcement of the Exclusion Laws.
Theexclusion laws and their enforcement forged“concepts of race, class, gender, sexuality,and citizenship for Americans in general”(77-78). Cases of mixed descent (78-81).Race-based immigration procedures (81-84).
Humiliating Bertillon system of measuringfeatures, including genitalia, introduced in1903, led to boycott of U.S. goods in China,and was dropped (84-85). Fifty to sixty timesas much was spent per immigrant onChinese in the effort to exclude (85-87).Class mitigated some of the effects of exclusion, but race “took precedence,” astightening of the definition of “merchant”and the assumption that all Chinese liereveals (87-92). Because of a fear of Chinese prostitutes, women faced especiallyclose attention (92-100). In the struggleover citizenship rights, the Chinese wereoften said to be unfit for citizenship becauseof stupidity, servility, or inability toassimilate;
U.S. v. Wong Kim Ark 
(1898)“affirmed that regardless of race, all personsborn in the United States were, in fact, nativeborn citizens of the United States andentitled to all of the rights that citizenshipoffered” (his picture is on the cover), butracist obstacles to claiming that right weremany (105; 100-09).
Ch. 4: One Hundred Kinds of OppressiveLaws: The Chinese Response toAmerican Exclusion.
Chinese organized acomplex system of resistance to the lawsand their application (111-12). Origins (PearlR. delta region especially) and motives of Chinese immigrants (112-16). Sojourning,intended to increase wealth or accumulateland (116-23). Chinese became skilled atopposing and protesting decisions of theexclusionary system (123-31). “[A]stuteadaptation” to regulations (131-38). Anetwork of immigration attorneys wasorganized (138-41). The Chinese neveraccepted the exclusionary laws (141-45).
Chineseseeking to evade the exclusionary laws werethe first “illegal immigrants,” a term Leeaccepts with “misgivings” (147-50).
Ch. 5: Enforcing the Borders: ChineseExclusion along the U.S.-Canadian andU.S.-Mexican Borders.
Problem of usingborder control to stop Chinese seeking toevade the exclusionary laws “laid thefoundations for racialized conceptions of the‘illegal immigrant problem’ and of Americanborder enforcement and nation-building”(151-52). Crossings on the U.S.-Canadianborder (152-57). Crossings on the U.S.-Mexico border (157-61). Chinese oftenpassed as members of other groups, e.g.Mexican (161-65). Cultural construction of the Chinese illegal immigrant (165-69). Theborders came to be regarded as a secondchance at admission, and the response wasracialized (169-73). The response also hasan imperial character: At its veryfoundation, Chinese exclusion had alwaysbeen articulated and justified through thelanguage of American national sovereigntyand self-preservation, American nation-building and empire building” (173). Thislink appears explicitly in two Supreme Courtcases,
Chae Chan-ping v. United States
(1889) and
Fong Yue Ting v. United States
(1893) (173-74). Chinese exclusion led tothe U.S.’s northern border being “racialized”(174-76). 1894 “Canadian Agreement” led toinspectors on ships landing in Canada (176-77). 1903 agreement with the CanadianPacific Railway Company, which operatedboth trains and ships, effectively requiredCPR to enforce U.S. immigration law forChinese persons bound for the U.S. (177-78).U.S. also pressured Canada to enact laws likeU.S. ones, which it finally did in 1923 (178-79). On the U.S.-Mexico border, with lesscooperation from the Mexican government,surveillance, policing, and deportationsucceeded in stemming illegal Chineseimmigration (179-87). By the 1920s, bothborders had been “effectively closed toChinese immigration” (187).
Ch. 6: The Crooked Path: Chinese IllegalImmigration and Its Consequences.
“Chinese immigrants and immigrationofficials created and maintained a system of illegal immigration during the exclusion era”(190). Economic considerations were behindillegal immigration (190-92). Chinesebelieved laws were unjust and could beevaded or ignored (192-93). Sea routes(193-94). The system of “paper” relatives(194-98). Extensive corruption in the U.S.immigration service (198-200). Loopholeslike merchant status, citizenship and recorddestruction, and family status were exploited(200-07). The inspection and interrogationsystem developed out of an intensifying“cycle of exclusion,” in which each sideintensified its efforts (207-19). Anexpensive, unfair system whose ultimate“folly and futility” is clear (190; 219-20).

Activity (4)

You've already reviewed this. Edit your review.
1 hundred reads
1 thousand reads
Sophia Wang liked this
Elene Lee liked this

You're Reading a Free Preview

/*********** DO NOT ALTER ANYTHING BELOW THIS LINE ! ************/ var s_code=s.t();if(s_code)document.write(s_code)//-->