As the major allies of the United States against Japan during World War II, Chinese resentments of the Chinese Exclusion laws could no longer be ignored. Japanese propaganda encouraged Chinese to break with the United States, citing the open racism of the U.S. laws. Following a well-received speaking tour of the United States by Madam Chiang Kai-shek, the U.S. educated, Christian wife of China’s leader, Congress repealed the Chinese Exclusion laws within a few months. Chinese immigrants became the first Asians eligible to naturalize and gain citizenship while Chinese became subject to the same immigration restrictions as Europeans by gaining an annual immigration quota. Because numbers of Chinese were so low, only 105 Chinese could immigrate each year.
An Act To repeal the Chinese Exclusion Acts, to establish quotas, and for other purposes.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That the following Acts or parts of Acts relating to the exclusion or deportation of persons of the Chinese race are hereby repealed: May 6,1882 (22 Stat. L. 58); July 5, 1884 (23 Stat. L. 115); September 13, 1888 (25 Stat. L. 476); October 1, 1888 (25 Stat. L. 504); May 5, 1892 (27 Stat. L. 25); November 3, 1893 (28 Stat. L. 7); that portion of section 1 of the Act of July 7, 1898 (30 Stat. L. 750, 751), which reads as follows: “There shall be no further immigration of Chinese into the Hawaiian Islands except upon such conditions as are now or may hereafter be allowed by the laws of the United States; and no Chinese, by reason of anything herein contained, shall be allowed to enter the United States from the Hawaiian Islands.”; section 101 of the Act of April 30. 1900 (31 Stat. L. 141, 161) those portions of section 1 of the Act of June 6, 1900 (31 Stat. L. 588, 611), which read as follows: “And nothing in section four of the Act of August fifth, eighteen hundred and eighty-two (Twenty-second Statutes at Large, page two hundred and twenty-five), shall be construed to prevent the Secretary of the Treasury from hereafter detailing one officer employed in the enforcement of the Chinese Exclusion Acts for duty at the Treasury Department at Washington. * * * and hereafter the CommissionerGeneral of Immigration, in addition to his other duties, shall have charge of the administration of the Chinese exclusion law * * * under the supervision and direction of the Secretary of the Treasury.”; March 3, 1901 (31 Stat. L. 1093); April 29, 1902 (32 Stat. L. 176); April 27, 1904 (33 Stat. L. 428); section 25 of the Act of March 3, 1911 (36 Stat. L. 1087. 1094); that portion of the Act of August 24, 1912 (37 Stat. L. 417, 476), which reads as follows: “Provided, That all charges for maintenance or return of Chinese persons applying for admission to the United States shall hereafter be paid or reimbursed to the United States by the person, company, partnership, or corporation, bringing such Chinese to a port of the United States as applicants for admission.”; that portion of the Act of June 23, 1913 (38 Stat. L. 4, 65), which reads as follows: “Provided, That from and after July first, nineteen hundred and thirteen, all Chinese persons ordered deported under judicial writs shall be delivered by the marshal of the district or his deputy into the custody of any officer designated for that purpose by the Secretary of Commerce and Labor, for conveyance to the frontier or seaboard for deportation in the same manner as aliens deported under the immigration laws.
” SEC. 2. With the exception of those coming under subsections (b), (d), (e), and (f) of section 4, Immigration Act of 1924 (43 Stat. 155; 44 Stat. 812; 45 Stat. 1009; 46 Stat. 854; 47 Stat. 656; 8 U. S. C. 204), all Chinese persons entering the United States annually as immigrants shall be allocated to the quota for the Chinese computed under the provisions of section 11 of the said Act. A preference up to 75 per centum of the quota shall be given to Chinese born and resident in China.
SEC. 3. Section 303 of the Nationality Act of 1940, as amended (54 Stat. 1140; 8 U. S. C. 703), is hereby amended by striking out the word “and” before the word “descendants”, changing the colon after the word “Hemisphere” to a comma, and adding the following: “and Chinese persons or persons of Chinese descent:”. Approved December 17, 1943.
Building on wartime exigencies but also increasingly widespread popular acceptance of acculturated, educated Chinese and growing discomfort with social Darwinist constructions of essentialized racial differences, the Citizens Committee acted strategically through a small number of key legislators and public figures to pursue a limited reform agenda…
To garner sufficient votes to pass, the measure had to strike a balance between foreign and domestic demands. On the one hand, the Chinese government had to be assuaged that its citizens had gained equitable conditions for entry and residence. On the other hand, the bill had to promise limited impact to appease those Americans concerned about restricting labor competition and racial integration. It would be the Magnuson bill that offered an attainable balance between narrowly framed reforms that nonetheless accomplished foreign diplomacy goals by calling for changes benefitting only Chinese. Repeal abolished the Chinese exclusion laws, granted naturalization rights only to Chinese, and placed Chinese on the same quota entry basis as other countries legislated with the Johnson-Reed Act of 1924. This gesture toward equitable treatment would allocate Chinese an annual quota of only 107, compared with Britain’s quota of 66,000. Even when admitted on the same basis as other nationalities, the numbers of Chinese entering each year would be miniscule…
Moving toward this symbolically momentous, yet practically inconsequential, reform generated debates and witness testimony that scrutinized the influence of domestic racial inequalities on America’s foreign relations, how best to manage “minority problems,” the possibility of Chinese assimilability and contributions to America, how “racial equality” might be introduced to immigration laws without triggering a flood of arrivals from Asia, and whether Chinese would be content with symbolic quotas… (92-93)
Hsu, M. Y. (2015). The good immigrants: How the yellow peril became the model minority. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.