During World War II, over seven million Americans served in the U.S. military. Many soldiers married or engaged partners abroad, but restrictive U.S. immigration laws made no provision for them to bring their spouses and fiancés home. The first War Brides Act allowed non-quota immigration by military spouses and fiancés, mostly women. The 1946 version of this Act extended non-quota status to Chinese spouses. Asian Americans served in disproportionate rates in the U.S. military and these laws permitted them, for the first time, bring wives to the United States. The 1924 Immigration Act’s exclusion of “aliens for citizenship” still applied to Japanese until a 1947 amendment provided an exemption, in acknowledgement of the need to equitably apply constitutional principles.
For the next two decades, a significant proportion of Asian immigrants were war brides to U.S. military personnel stationed in countries such as Japan, South Korea, Vietnam, and the Philippines.
To expedite the admission to the United States of alien spouses and alien minor children of citizen members of the United States armed forces.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States o f America in Congress assembled . . . alien spouses or alien children of United States citizens serving in, or having an honorable discharge certificate from the armed forces of the United States during the Second World War shall, if otherwise admissible under the immigration laws and if application for admission is made within three years of the effective date of this Act, be admitted to the United States : Provided, That every alien of the foregoing description shall be medically examined at the time of arrival in accordance with the provisions of section 16 of the Act of February 5, 1917, and if found suffering from any disability which would be the basis for a ground of exclusion except for the provision of this Act, the Immigration and Naturalization Service shall forthwith notify the appropriate public medical officer of the local community to which the alien is destined : Provided further, That the provisions of this Act shall not affect the duties of the United States Public Health Service so far as they relate to quarantinable diseases .
SEC. 2. Regardless of section 9 of the Immigration Act of 1924, any alien admitted under section 1 of this Act shall be deemed to be a nonquota immigrant as defined in section 4 (a) of the Immigration Act of 1924 . . . .
Approved December 28, 1945 .
To place Chinese wives of American citizens on a nonquota basis . . . .
SEC. 2 . The first sentence of section 2 of the Act entitled “An Act to repeal the Chinese Exclusion Acts, to establish quotas, and for other purposes”, approved December 17, 1943 (57 Stat. 600 ; 8 U . S . C . 212 (a)), is amended to read as follows : “With the exception of Chinese alien wives of American citizens and those Chinese aliens 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 .”
Approved August 9, 1946.