Chinese Immigrater Paper
Interrogations of Chinese Immigrants at Angel Island
Like Ellis Island in New York Harbor, Angel Island in San Francisco Bay was an entry point for immigrants in the early 20th century.The Angel Island immigration station processed small numbers of immigrants from Japan, Italy, and other parts of the world and was the key place of interrogation and detention for immigrants from China (“Angel Island Over View, CD-ROM). Angel Island in 1910 to enforce the Chinese Exclusion Act passed in 1882 and renewed in 1892 and 1902.Despite Chinese contributions to building the American West before 1880, the U.S. enacted laws prohibiting the migration of Chinese laborers after 1882 and accepting only merchants, teachers, students, and the families of American-born Chinese.These were then 105,465 Chinese in the country, mostly in California.Under the Naturalization Law of 1790, Chinese immigrants were considered “aliens ineligible to cintizenship,” but those born in the U.S were citizens under the 14th amendment.Modeled in its procedures on Ellis Island, Angel Island was an outpost to sift the migration stream but also a barrier to bar Chinese save those who fit the exempt categories or were related to U.S citizens (“Angel Island Overview”, CD-Rom).
Chinese immigration, after being shut down for many years by governmental legislation and an anti-Chinese climate resumed quickly after 1906.The 1906 San Francisco earthquake destroyed most immigration records in the city, allowing many resident Chinese to claim U.S citizenship and many others to claim to be “paper sons.”Chinese Americans who returned from visits home and reported births of sons and daughters thereby created slots, which were often used to bring in immigrants who masqueraded as sons or daughters.By this strategem, thousands of Chinese skirted intended American exclusion (“Male Detainees at Angel Island”, CD-Rom). These paper sons and paper merchants increased the numbe…