US Immigration Laws 1800's
European immigration began in 1492 and remained unrestricted until the Page Act of 1875. Under the Constitution of the United States, Congress has authority over immigration. Some early Immigration Laws of the 1800's were passed by individual states as the federal government was content to leave emigration policy and control to individual states. In 1890 the total control of immigration was passed to the government and its regulation became a federal responsibility. The first Federal immigration center was opened January 1, 1892 on Ellis Island where immigrants from Europe had to undergo legal and medical examinations before being allowed entry into the United States. The federal laws passed up to this time are detailed in this article. For additional laws, facts, history and information refer to US Immigration Laws 1900's.
US Immigration Laws 1800's: The Steerage Act of 1819
The Immigration Act of 1819 provided regulations and standards for ships bringing immigrants to the United States. The captains of ships were required to provide customs officials with a list of immigrants names with the age, sex and occupation of passengers together with details of their country of origin and their intended destination in America. Passengers ill with contagious diseases had to be quarantined. The Customs officials sent copies of the lists to the U.S. State Department who then submitted the lists to Congress.
US Immigration Laws 1800's: The 1875 Page Act (Asian Exclusion Act)
The Page Act, commonly referred to as the Asian Exclusion Act, was the first restrictive federal immigration law and prohibited the entry of immigrants considered "undesirable". The law prohibited entry by Chinese women for the purposes of prostitution. The legislation also prohibited the importation of laborers from China, Japan, or any Oriental country who did not voluntarily consent to come to work in America.
US Immigration Laws 1800's: The 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act
The 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act was intended to restrict immigration from China for 10 years from 1882 to 1892. The law banned the emigration of unskilled Chinese laborers. The ten year proviso in the 1882 Exclusion Act was then extended for another 10 years by the 1892 Geary Act and then it was made permanent until it was finally repealed in 1943.
US Immigration Laws 1800's: The 1882 Immigration Act
The Immigration Act of 1882 restricted European immigration by making several categories of immigrants ineligible entry into the United States who likely to become public charges. It also imposed a tax of 50 cents on all immigrants landing at ports in the United States to create a government immigration fund.
US Immigration Laws 1800's: 1885 Alien Contract Labor Law (Foran Act)
The 1885 Alien Contract Labor Law, also known as the Foran Act, banned any individual or company from bringing unskilled foreigners into the United States under contract to work for them. The only exceptions are those immigrants who were brought into the country to perform domestic service (servants) and skilled workmen who were needed to help establish a new trade or industry in the US.
US Immigration Laws 1800's: The 1891 Immigration Act
The 1891 Immigration Act increased government regulation of immigration and established a Commissioner of Immigration in the Treasury Department responsible carrying out carrying out the inspection and deportation of immigrants. The law also imposed standards of admissibility for entry into America banning “mentally disturbed persons, persons suffering from a ‘loathsome or contagious’ disease, paupers, persons convicted of a felony or infamous crime or misdemeanor of moral turpitude and polygamists."
US Immigration Laws 1800's: The 1892 Geary Act
The terms of the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act were extended by another ten years by the 1892 Geary Act, that was written by California Congressman Thomas J. Geary. The Geary Act also required all Chinese residents of the United States to carry a resident permit.
List of all US Immigration Laws
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