The Farce of the Chinese Exclusion Laws
Digital History ID 4055
Article on Chinese exclusion in the North American Review.
From 1882 until 1943, most Chinese immigrants were barred from entering the United States. The Chinese Exclusion Act was the nation's first law to ban immigration by race or nationality. All Chinese people--except travelers, merchants, teachers, students, and those born in the United States--were barred from entering the country. Federal law prohibited Chinese residents, no matter how long they had legally worked in the United States, from becoming naturalized citizens. From 1850 to 1865, political and religious rebellions within China left 30 million dead and the country's economy in a state of collapse. Meanwhile, the canning, timber, mining, and railroad industries on the United States's West Coast needed workers. Chinese business owners also wanted immigrants to staff their laundries, restaurants, and small factories.
Smugglers transported people from southern China to Hong Kong, where they were transferred onto passenger steamers bound for Victoria, British Columbia. From Victoria, many immigrants crossed into the United States in small boats at night. Others crossed by land.
The Geary Act, passed in 1892, required Chinese aliens to carry a residence certificate with them at all times upon penalty of deportation. Immigration officials and police officers conducted spot checks in canneries, mines, and lodging houses and demanded that every Chinese person show these residence certificates.
Due to intense anti-Chinese discrimination, many merchants' families remained in China while husbands and fathers worked in the United States. Since Federal law allowed merchants who returned to China to register two children to come to the United States, men who were legally in the United States might sell their testimony so that an unrelated child could be sponsored for entry. To pass official interrogations, immigrants were forced to memorize coaching books which contained very specific pieces of information, such as how many water buffalo there were in a particular village. So intense was the fear of being deported that many "paper sons" kept their false names all their lives. The U.S. government only gave amnesty to these "paper families" in the 1950s.
The Farce of the Chinese Exclusion Laws.
By J. Thomas Scharf, LL.D., Late United States Chinese Inspector at the Port of New York.
Which I wish to remark
And my language is plain
That for ways that are dark
And for tricks that are vain
The heathen Chinese is peculiar.
The history of Chinese immigration in the United States is a somewhat peculiar one. It began as early as 1786, when our ships first visited China, but it was slow until the news of the discovery of gold in fabulous quantities in California reached China. Before 1852 the Chinese immigration into the port of San Francisco amounted to about 10,000, but in that year 20,026 arrived. There being no prejudice or hostility to them, they were welcomed as a unique addition to the society and a valuable ally in the development of the material resources of their new home. Governor John McDougall, in his message to the California Legislature of that year, referred to the Chinese as the “most desirable of our adopted citizens.” In 1853 only 4,270 arrived at San Francisco, followed in 1854 by 16,084 more. This sudden invasion of more than 40,000 strange people in three years caused much dissatisfaction among the laborers of California, who could not compete with the Chinese in the mines, and an effort was made in the legislature to impose a head tax on all aliens working mining claims. There being no provision in the Cushing treaty of 1844, nor the Reed treaty of 1858, that the Chinese should not come to this country, they continued to arrive at San Francisco. The statistics of Chinese immigration into that port from 1854 to the Burlingame treaty of 1869 were as follows: 1855, 3,329; 1856, 4,807; 1857, 5,924; 1858, 5,427; 1859, 3,175; 1860, 7,341; 1861, 843; 1862, 8,175; 1863, 6,432; 1864, 2,682; 1866, 3,095; 1866, 2,242; 1867, 4,290; 1868, 11,081; 1869, 14,990; making a total to the last date of 141,800.
Notwithstanding this large influx of Chinese, the Legislature of California, as late as March 11, 1862, through a joint select committee, made an elaborate report, congratulating the State upon the presence of the Chinese, urging the adoption of measures to secure as permanent citizens those already there, and offering inducements to others to come. When this report was made the Chinese population in the State was estimated at about 35,000. In a few months after this report was made the favorable judgment expressed by it was entirely reversed, and the Chinese, by reason of their sordid, selfish, immoral, and non-amalgamating habits, came to be regarded as a standing menace to the institutions of the State. Governor Leland Stanford, in his Message to the California Legislature in 1862, said:
To my mind, it is clear that the settlement among us of an inferior race is to be discouraged by every legitimate means. Asia, with her numberless millions, sends to our shores the dregs of her population. Large numbers of this class are already here, and unless we do something to check their immigration the question which of the two tides of immigration meeting upon the shores of the Pacific shall be turned back will be forced upon our consideration when far more difficult than now of disposal. There can be no doubt but that the presence of numbers among us of a degraded and distinct people must exercise a deleterious influence upon the superior race, and to a certain extent repel desirable immigration. It will afford me great pleasure to concur with the Legislature in any constitutional action having for its object the repression of the immigration of the Asiatic races.
This was the first official utterance from any public man anywhere in favor of Chinese exclusion, and in a short time it became a national question.
The Burlingame treaty was ratified at Peking November 23, 1869, and the fifth and sixth sections related to the right of the citizens of one country to voluntarily migrate to the other country for the purpose of curiosity, trade, or permanent residence. After providing for the citizens of the United States visiting and residing in China, as in the other treaties, the Chinese came on and for the first time said in this treaty:
And reciprocally, Chinese subjects visiting or residing in the United States shall enjoy the same privileges, immunities, and exemptions in respect to travel or residence as may there be enjoyed by the citizens or subjects of the most favored nation.
It was against what was then known as coolie labor that the Burlingame treaty directed its prohibition, which the act of Congress of 1862 had failed to prohibit between China and the United States. The declaration concerning voluntary immigration was unfortunate in tying the hands of our Government so that it could not freely legislate against an invasion coming under the guise of a voluntary immigration, but the treaty did not provide for or encourage such immigration. There was, on the contrary, a significant provision against naturalization, which indicated that there was to be a line drawn somewhere between the people of China and the people of the United States.
The ratification of this treaty, as we have seen, caused a marked increase in the arrival of Chinese into this country. The evil results of the presence of this great horde in San Francisco, which had already an immense Chinese population, were most conspicuous, and subsequently throughout the whole State the hostility to the Chinese became so great as to threaten constantly a breach of the peace. The public press was almost unanimous in its condemnation.
Enthusiastic public meetings were held, presided over by representative men of the State. Anti-Chinese societies were formed and a war of races seemed imminent. The municipal and State authorities, responding to the overwhelming sentiment, endeavored to remedy the evil by ordinance and legislative enactments. Among these may be recalled the queue ordinance, the capitation tax, the basket-ordinance, the landing tax, the cubic air law, all of which were aimed at the Chinese, and all of which were finally adjudged to be unconstitutional by the Supreme Court of the United States. The hope of reaching and remedying the evil by State or municipal legislation was finally and utterly overthrown by the decision of the Supreme Court of the United States in the case of Chy Lung, plaintiff in error, Vs. Commissioner of Immigration of California et al, which went to the length of deciding that the State of California had no power to prohibit the landing of passengers of any kind whatever, not even when known to be immoral, criminal, or vagrants.
Every other means of relief proving ineffectual, the people of the Pacific Coast determined to appeal to Congress. Accordingly, as early as December 22, 1869, at the second session of the Forty-first Congress, an effort was made, but without success, to secure restrictive legislation. In the Forty-second and also in the Forty-third and Forty-fourth Congresses numerous memorials, resolutions of public meetings, and petitions, one of which numbered over 16,000 signatures, were presented to the same effect and with the same results. In the meanwhile the question had assumed dangerous proportions. Chinese immigration was at its flood the arrivals in 1870 being 15,740; in 1871, 7,135; in 1872, 9,788; 1873, 23,292; 1874, 16,080, 1875, 18,021; 1876, 22,781; 1877, 10,594; 1878, 8,992; 1879, 9,604; and to November 17, 1880, when a new treaty was concluded between China and the United States.
In the meantime the people of the Pacific Coast had become indignant because the American Congress was not following the path that had already been trodden by France, by England, and by every country in the world that had ever suffered the disadvantages, the horrors, and the burdens of Chinese immigration. As far back as 1855 the English colony of Victoria levied a capitation tax of $50 upon every Chinese immigrant. In Th61 a similar tax was imposed by the colony of New South Wales, and in 1877 by the colony of Queensland, and also by the French colony of Saigon. The same opposition had been aroused in Java, in Siam, in Singapore, in the Philippine Islands, and in the Australian colonies. Everywhere the Chinese have made themselves obnoxious; everywhere heavy penalties and restrictive legislation have been found a necessary means of protection.
In 1826 Congress sent a committee to the Pacific coast, headed by ex-Governor Morton, of Indiana, for the purpose of ascertaining the actual condition of affairs, and in their report they said they believed that “the influx of Chinese is a standing menace to republican institutions upon the Pacific, and the existence there of Christian civilization,” and demanded relief from the “terrible scourge” by prompt restrictive legislation on the part of Congress, whether approved by the Chinese government or not. When this report was submitted to Congress, the counsel of the Chinese Six Companies and the counsel of the railway and steamship corporations who had represented the Chinese before the committee, attempted to raise false issues and to create an impression that the committee was not in sympathy with the masses of the people. When the citizens of the Pacific coast saw that their views had been misrepresented, they undertook in the most solemn form in which the people of the Pacific coast could do so to speak to the American people by a resort to the ballot. The Legislature of California in 1878 provided for a vote of the people upon the question of Chinese immigration (so-called) to be had at the general election of 1870. The vote was legally taken, without excitement, and the response was general. When the ballots were counted, there were found to be 883 votes for Chinese immigration and 154,638 against it, an anti-Chinese majority of 153,755. A similar vote was taken in Nevada and resulted as follows: 183 votes for Chinese immigration and 17,259 votes against it. For nearly thirty years this people had witnessed the effects of Chinese immigration. For more than a quarter of a century these voters had met face to face, considered, weighed, and discussed the great question upon which they were at last called upon in the most solemn and deliberate manner to express an opinion, and their extraordinary vote was a conclusive argument in favor of Chinese restriction. Recognizing the exigency of the occasion, the Legislature of California, on the 13th of August, 1877, also presented an “Address to the people of the United States,” and a memorial to Congress based upon the testimony of witnesses acquainted with the subject, which ably and graphically set forth the objections to the Chinese.
In the meantime the agitation of the question had extended to the Eastern States, who responded to the Pacific slope. The introduction of a number of Chinese to fill the places of striking Crispins at North Adams, Mass., created the most intense excitement. Monster meetings of workingmen were held at North Adams, throughout the State, and in all the leading critics of the Eastern slope. The press and forum were ablaze with defenses and denunciations of the Chinese. The war of races for the time was transferred from the West to the East; “passion and prejudice” ruled the hour. The Labor Reform party in convention at Worcester, Mass., on September 8, 1870, resolved that they were “inflexibly opposed to the importation by capitalists of laborers from China and elsewhere for the purpose of degrading and cheapening American labor, and will resist by all legal and constitutional means in our power.” The Democratic Party at Fitchburg, Mass., on the 12th of October following, adopted a similar resolution. Hon. Henry Wilson, then U. S. Senator from Massachusetts, and afterwards Vice-President, Wendell Phillips, John Quincy Adams, Presidents Grant and Garfield and others made an emphatic stand against Chinese immigration. In 1876 the Republican and Democratic National platforms took strong ground against the Chinese, and these formal declarations were discussed and approved by all parties at every political gathering in the country for several years.
Finally ministers plenipotentiary were appointed, by whom, on the 17th of November, 1880, a treaty was concluded between China and the United States. The first article of that treaty expressly declares the right of the United States “to regulate, limit, or suspend the coming or residence of Chinese laborers.” This stipulation was considered a great concession on the part of China, but those who are familiar with Chinese affairs know that there never has been a time when China would not prefer absolute restriction to the slightest form of contingent emigration to the United States. It is in our own hands. There can be no measure of restriction too comprehensive for China. And Mr. John Russell Young, ex-Minister to China, says that this observation might be made complete “by saying that, if a treaty of restriction would return every Chinaman to his own country, and send every alien out of China, it would be hailed with joy throughout the Celestial Empire.” Chinese laborers are prevented by the Chinese government from immigrating to the United States from a Chinese port. All Chinese emigrants bound for the United States sail from Hong Kong, a British colony separated from China by a narrow strait. China has no more to do with Hong Kong than with Liverpool or New York. The immigrants mostly sail in British ships and for British gain, and as the traffic has paid well, those who control it oppose Chinese exclusion in the United States. The clamor that reaches the United States in regard to Chinese emigration; the ingeniously continued articles in foreign newspapers; cable dispatches expressing the indignation of Li Hung Chang, the indignation meetings in Canton, emotion among the Chinese as to their exclusion from America; the vaporings of paid lobbyists in the halls of Congress and elsewhere; all this literature of invective and remonstrance comes mainly from English sources, railroad and steamship corporations, comes as an expression of disappointment at the threatened suppression of a valuable trade. This is the very root of this vexed question.
No action was taken toward the execution of the treaty of 1880 until May 6, 1882, when a law was enacted by Congress suspending Chinese immigration for a period of ten years, afterward extended to twenty. It went into effect August 5th of the same year. This law not proving effective, it war followed by the laws of July 5, 1884, October 1, 1888, the Geary Law of May 5, 1892, the act of November 3, 1893, the act of August 18, 1894, and the treaty of December 7, 1894.
All of these measures sought to execute the will of the people of the United States to exclude Chinese laborers. For a time, each act in turn had been deemed effective, but the immigration has continued in spite of legislation forbidding it. During the period of nearly two years, between the date of the treaty of 1880 and the law of Congress of 1882, the Chinese poured into the country from every direction. The steamships from Hong Kong were crowded to their utmost capacity by an eager mob hurrying to get into the United States before the gates should be closed against them. Over six thousand were admitted at San Francisco in two months, and the arrivals in 1881, 1882, and 1883, the three years following the treaty, were 59,500, being an annual average of 19,833, or more than double the former average.
This was one of the unfortunate results of the effort to secure an exclusion that did not at once exclude, and for the time being the purpose of the treaty was not only defeated, but its negotiation caused a large increase in Chinese immigration. This rapid increase being brought to the attention of Congress, the act of 1884 was passed, and during the next year 9,049 were admitted at San Francisco, as against 6,602 in 1884. This large increase proved that restrictive legislation did not restrict, but rather, under its operations, the number of Chinese in the country were being augmented. The press of San Francisco denounced the workings of the law in the severest terms. The people of the Pacific coast were indignant. It was plain to be seen that the Chinese were coming into the country in utter defiance of the restriction acts. They came into San Francisco on false testimony as to prior residence. They came into the country across the frontier without any evidence of a right to come. The people became exasperated over the condition of affairs and in some instances resorted to effective exclusion measures. In Washington Territory, where the invasion across the Canada border could be seen and understood, the people rose in self-defense and ordered the invaders out of the country. On September 5, 1885, the unfortunate collision occurred at Rock Springs, Wyoming, for which Congress afterward voted an indemnity of $147,000. The situation was serious and required immediate action, but nothing was done to repair the leak until the passage of the act of 1888. As this law did not suppress the evil, the acts of 1892, 1893, and 1894 followed. In the meantime the Asiatic tramps were forcing their way through the western gate of the country in greater numbers than ever, contrary to the spirit and purposes of our laws. In 1886, 6,714 were admitted into San Francisco, followed in 1887 by 11,572 more, or nearly 3,000 more than the yearly average arrivals before the treaty of 1580. Since the completion of the Canadian Pacific Railroad along the entire distance of our northern frontier, the facilities for celerity of invasion have been vastly multiplied, and this company, with its subsidized line of British steamers running between its western terminus at Vancouver, in British Columbia, to Hong Kong, brings into the United States from three to five thousand Chinese immigrants every year. Two other lines of steamships run between Hong Kong and San Francisco, while another line has a terminus at Seattle, and another runs to Tacoma. All of these steamship lines are largely engaged in carrying Chinese immigrants from Hong Kong to the United States and British Columbia, running steamers about every three weeks, and bringing over from one hundred to seven hundred Chinese persons on each trip.
The head tax of $50 per capita imposed by the Canadian provinces is no real impediment or restriction in the way of Chinese destined to the United States via Canada. To secure this traffic the Canadian Pacific Railroad Company gives bonds, to the Canadian government to pay this amount if the Chinese have not departed out of Canada in ninety days, and its agents, officers, and employees are instructed to send the Chinese as soon as possible into the United States, anywhere along our 3,740 miles of border. As a consequence, like water from a sieve, the Chinese are showered upon us from every conceivable point on Puget Sound, and all along the line from Victoria to Halifax. So with reference to the Mexican border. They cross the 1,540 miles of our Southern boundary line without detection into the United States. Between this country and Canada there are about twenty-five railroads crossing from one country into the other, and between this country and Mexico there are about five railroads crossing the line, making about thirty railroads that cross our boundary. These lines of railroad, and steamship lines running into New Orleans, Tampa, Key West, New York, and other ports, from Cuba, Mexico, and Hong Kong, furnish ample facilities for these people to come from one side of the line or the other.
The records of the Treasury Department show that many Chinese laborers have been landed in the United States on the claim of being in transit who have not taken their departure, or if they have, their identity has been so completely lost that, with an eye to profit, they have been able to carry off return papers for sale or future use. In many instances Chinese in transit have remained here by substituting others in their places. Again the papers of nearly all returning alleged merchants are fraudulent, and their witnesses in many cases are professional perjurers. Another mode of securing admission is for “sons” to claim birth in San Francisco, and prove it by the testimony of alleged “fathers” who perjure themselves for a consideration.
From the passage of the first Chinese Exclusion Act in 1882 to the present time, there have been in the matter of hearings on habeas corpus in Chinese cases serious and radical conflicts of opinion between the judges of the Federal courts and the executive officers of the government, which have been the cause of a great many admissions. The very fact of the existence of such a wide difference of opinion as to the construction and administration of existing law is the most effective argument that could possibly be adduced to show the imbecility of the Chinese Exclusion Acts, and of the absolute impotency of such measures to meet and cope in an efficient and effective manner with this great evil. Then the careless and absolutely inefficient manner in which the question of Chinese immigration has been treated by Congress has been the cause of the admission of thousands. This is clearly demonstrated by the admission of 502 Chinese persons for the Chicago Worlds Exposition, 350 for the San Francisco Mid-Winter Fair, 206 for the Atlanta Exposition, and about 600 for the Nashville Exposition under joint resolutions of Congress permitting alien laborers to be imported in connection with the foreign exhibits. All of the above 1,656 Chinese laborers obtained admission into the United States by the payment of about $225 each to the holders of the concession for Chinese exhibits at the above expositions. In most cases the women who were brought in at the same time were sold in San Francisco for immoral purposes.
The official statistics of the government purporting to show the yearly admission of Chinese into the United States in no way approximate the truth. They fall far short of the actual facts and cannot be relied on. For example, they do not include the 16,000 who crossed the boundary into the United States after their discharge upon the completion of the Canadian Pacific Railroad. In these figures no account whatever is taken of the thousands that have been smuggled across the waters of Puget Sound and along the Canadian boundary line, nor the carloads passed in over the Mexican border. No account has been taken of the vessel loads of Chinese smuggled into the country along the Gulf coast. And still another fact must be taken into account, and that is that vessels on the route between San Francisco and Chinese ports are as a rule manned by Chinese crews, many of whom are constantly deserting and remaining in this country. No account has been taken of the 1,500 alleged merchants landed at Portland, Ore., by a corrupt collector of customs at $50 per head; or the hundreds who were admitted into Idaho and Montana upon forged certificates with counterfeit seals attached.
The census returns of the number of Chinese in the United States are equally defective. The census of 1860 placed it at 34,933, 1870 at 63,199, 1880 at 105,165, and 1890 at 107,475. Any one familiar with the Chinese understands the improbability of obtaining exact statistics concerning them. The Chinese Six Companies have always endeavored to prove as small a number of Chinese in this country as possible, and it is well known that when the census takers were taking the census the Chinese avoided them. As evidence of the unreliability of the census, in 1869 II. C. Bennett, Secretary of the San Francisco Chinese Protective Society, with the aid of the Chinese Six Companies, made a careful estimate of the number of Chinese in the United States, and gave 90,000 as the number.
One year later the census only gave 63,199. The testimony of Hon. F. A. Bee, the Chinese Consul at San Francisco, ought to have weight on this question. He was reported in a San Francisco journal in 1888 as having testified in a Chinese investigation in that city that “within the last six months more Chinese women had arrived, and been landed by the courts as previous residents, than ever departed between 1849 and 1887,” and, furthermore, “that all the women brought into this country were brought here for immoral purposes.”
The folly and inefficiency of the restriction acts are further demonstrated by Special Treasury Employee T. Aubrey Byrne, in his report to the Secretary of the Treasury, dated March 29, 1897. He says: “Of the total admissions of Chinese into the United States during the fiscal year 1896, over 35 percent were affected through the Vermont district. The Chinese inhabitants in Boston in 1895, compared with 1885, show an increase of 192 percent. In the State of Massachusetts the increase in 1895 over the number in 1885 is shown to be 273 per cent. It must be borne in mind that the majority of the Chinese entering Massachusetts through the Vermont district do not remain in this State, but pass into other States to take up their laundry work. For arrival of Chinese laborers in this special agency district 1896 was the banner year, and, judging from the inflow during the first two months of 1897, it is quite probable that the current year (1897) will outrank any preceding twelve months.”
Taking the Custom House record of Chinese coming into the United States through the district of Vermont from June 1, 1895, to February 23, 1897, and adding to them 581 alleged boys, etc., who were admitted into the country by the United States Commissioner at St. Albans, Mr. Byrne shows that the total admissions for the period in Vermont stood 2,947, or more than were admitted into the remainder of the United States.
In the State of New York the census of 1890 gave 2,935 Chinese. At the time of the passage of the Geary Act of May 5, 1892, requiring all Chinese laborers to register, Internal Revenue Collector Keriom of the Southern District of New York made a canvass of the Chinese in his district and found that there were only 500 Chinese who would have to register. When the amended act was approved November 3, 1893, and before the Chinese registration began, the collector made another canvass and, much to his astonishment, found 1,200 Chinese. When the registration was completed it was found that over seven thousand had registered in New York City. According to the best estimates there are today (1897) all told in New York and Brooklyn and within a radius of ten miles about 12,000 Chinese. There are, it is believed, notwithstanding reports to the contrary, as many as 700,000 Chinese, perhaps more, in the United State. It is estimated that there are as many as 150,000 in California, 20,000 in Oregon, 10,000 in the State of Washington, 10,000 in Montana and Idaho, 4,000 in Nevada, 3,000 in Arizona, 3,000 in Colorado, 3,000 in Wyoming and Utah, to say nothing of those scattered over all portions of the country. Gradually, and almost imperceptibly, like the coming of a cold wave or the rising of the tide, the “Little Brownies” have crossed the Great American Desert, the Rocky Mountains, the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers, and the Alleghany Mountains, and to-day there is scarcely a city, town, or hamlet, either large or small, not excepting the capital of the nation, in which there are not more or less, and in many of them a very considerable number of Chinese persons.
That the present Chinese restriction acts, as at present administered, are worse than pretence is conceded by all familiar with their operations. Judge Hagar, while Collector of the Port of San Francisco, a few years ago, stated “that the restriction act, as now administered, is an utter failure,” which assertion has been verified in a thousand ways in the past few years. John II. Seuter, U. S. Attorney in the Vermont District, on December 30,1896, said that in his district the “Chinese hearings are in a certain sense farcical,” and Leigh Chalmers, Examiner of the Attorney-Generals office, in a report dated July 1, 1896, said “that nine out of ten of these (Chinese) cases do not amount to the dignity of a farce,” and that the “U. S. Attorney and Commissioner both agree to this conclusion, but say there is no remedy.” Win. A. Poucher, U. S. Attorney at Buffalo, in a letter to the U. S. Attorney-General, dated April 30, 1897, said that his assistant had “attended examinations at Malone and at Plattsburg, . . . and has reported that it was absolutely useless, under the present condition of affairs, to attend any further examinations, as it was a waste of time and money,” and that he was “powerless.”
These law officers of the government are charged with the enforcement of the exclusion laws, but they practically admit that owing to the loose interpretation of the laws by sympathetic U. S. Commissioners, and ~the radical diversity of opinion between the judges of the Federal Courts, the crafty practices and fraudulent devices of the Mongolians themselves, the ready aid of well-paid allies on the border line, perjured witnesses, and the oath-breaking and bribe-taking public officials, the exclusion laws have become more honored in the breach than in the observance. From Tampa Bay at one corner, from Puget Sound at the other, from El Paso at the south, from San Francisco at the west, to New York at the east, to the Vermont, New York, New Hampshire, and Maine line on the north comes the same narrative of betrayed trusts on the part of debauched customs and judicial officials, and of hordes of these barred and branded Mongolians pouring into the United States, each with his bribe-money in one hand, his fraudulent papers in the other, and perjury on his lips. With several years experience in attempting to enforce this supreme law of the land, our faith in effective legislation upon this subject is much impaired. Laws deemed apparently faultless have proven but legislative makeshifts. They do not meet the evil, but rather aggravate it by offering opportunities for their evasion through perjury, chicanery, and frauds. The entire customs service of the country, the Federal judiciary, and those appointed specially to enforce these laws, all admit that the Chinese Exclusion Act is a pretence and fraud in that it assumes to be legislation in pursuance of treaty stipulations, when in fact it is in violation of them; that it pretends to correct the evil complained of by offering opportunities for its evasion through the crafty practices, fraudulent devices, and bold perjury of the criminal Chinese; that it has opened a door to the perjurer, who is too ready to swear himself within the pale of our laws, and thus whole legions of these people are flocking to the United States who are not entitled to come. Thus with every precaution under existing laws, and in the face of every effort, we have fi1ed so far to arrest the incursions already effected over the border lines of the neighboring territory; as we have seen, well-known routes are established by trails and by water ways, along which they come. When once here they mingle and merge with ad become an unrecognizable portion of the “former residents.”
J. Thomas Scharf
Additional information: The North American review. / Volume 166, Issue 494
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