|Understanding the Exclusion Act
Students should be made aware that the Exclusion Act set a precedent in American
immigration policy for banning the immigration of entire ethnic groups. “Milestones
in U.S. Immigration Policy” lists some of the major U.S. legislation
that was particularly relevant to the immigration and exclusion of Asians.
Have students read the excerpts from the Exclusion Act. The questions that
follow the excerpt are meant to help students comprehend the reading and
consider the intent of the act. This handout can be completed together
as a class,
in groups, or individually.
A digital facsimile of the Exclusion Act is on the National
Archives website of the 100 most important documents in U.S,
in the next lesson, “Getting Past the Gate” and “Voices
of the Chinese” show the impact of the Exclusion Act on the Chinese
and how the Chinese community found a way to continue to bring in immigrants
despite this discriminatory law.