The concerns for international relations with China that had somewhat mitigated the initial Chinese exclusion laws were set aside entirely with this act. In 1904, Congress voted to enact the Chinese exclusion laws in perpetuity in response to Chinese government efforts to leverage better conditions for Chinese travelers to the United States by abrogating treaties which had not served to protect its subjects. To protest discriminatory treatment of Chinese and overzealous enforcement of the exclusion laws, a coalition of Chinese merchants and students in cities in China and Southeast Asia with support from U.S. based businessmen organized an anti-American boycott. This boycott contributed to President Theodore Roosevelt’s decision to issue an executive order mandating that immigration officers treat exempt classes of Chinese travelers fairly according to terms set forth in U.S. law.
SECTION 5. That section one of that Act of Congress approved April twenty-ninth, nineteen hundred and two, entitled “An Act to prohibit the coming into and to regulate the residence within the United States, its Territories, and all territory under its jurisdiction, and the District of Columbia, of Chinese and persons of Chinese descent,” is hereby amended so as to read as follows: “All laws in force on the twenty-ninth day of April, nineteen hundred and two, regulating, suspending, or prohibiting the coming of Chinese persons or persons of Chinese descent into the United States, and the residence of such persons therein, including sections five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten eleven, thirteen, and fourteen of the Act entitled ‘An Act to prohibit the coming of Chinese laborers into the United States,’ approved September thirteen, eighteen hundred and eighty-eight, be, and the same are hereby, reenacted, extended, and continued, without modification, limitation, or condition; and said laws shall also apply to the island territory under the jurisdiction of the United States, and prohibit the immigration of Chinese laborers, no citizens of the United States, from such island territory to the mainland territory of the United States, whether in such island territory: Provided, however, That said laws should shall not be applied to the transit of Chinese laborers from one island to another island of the same group; any islands within jurisdiction of any State or the District of Alaska shall be considered a part of the mainland under this section.”
Approved, April 27, 1904.