Citizenship Questioned

Exclusionists again attempt to challenge the citizenship status of Chinese Americans. Officials detain native San Franciscan Wong Kim Ark as he returns from a trip to China. He files a writ of habeas corpus alleging unlawful detention, and the U.S. Supreme Court in 1898 affirms his birthright citizenship under the Fourteenth Amendment.

Former Pennsylvania Mayor Terence V. Powderly in 1887 orders the Knights of Labor's Chinese chapters to disband, stating he had "gone on record as not only opposing Chinese labor but also declaring that Chinese and Japanese were unfit to reside in the United States." Powderly goes on to serve as U.S. Commissioner-General of ...
... Immigration from 1897 to 1902.

More Exclusionists obtain advancement. California State Senator Anthony Caminetti sponsors a 1913 constitutional amendment that would take away the rights of citizenship from African and Chinese Americans. The same year he is appointed U.S. Commissioner-General of Immigration. Caminetti oversees immigration for the next 18 years.

San Francisco native Wong Kim Ark
Courtesy National Archives, RG 085 wka 12017-42223






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