Digital History
The Citizenship Rights of Chinese Born in the United States
Digital History ID 33


Annotation: The Chinese Exclusion Act barred Chinese immigrants from citizenship. But Wong Kim Ark was born in San Francisco. After a visit to China, he was barred from reentry into the United States on the ground that he was not a citizen. In this landmark case, the Supreme Court ruled that the government could not deny naturalization to anyone born in the United States.

Document: A child born in the United States, of parents of Chinese descent, who, at the time of his birth, are subjects of the Emperor of China, but have a permanent domicil and residence in the United States, and are there carrying on business, and are not employed in any diplomatic or official capacity under the Emperor of China, becomes at the time of his birth a citizen of the United States, by virtue of the first clause of the Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution, "All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside."

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