3. The Immigration Act of 1924
The Immigration Act of 1924 (including the Asian Exclusion Act and The National Origins Act) was signed into law by President Calvin Coolidge and added more potent Anti-Immigration measures upon the recently introduced Immigration Restriction Act of 1921 which had established the first per-country immigration quota. The 1924 Act allowed immigrant visas amounting to only two percent of the total of any given country’s nationals already living in the U.S. as of the 1890 census. The act also plainly rejected admission to all immigrants with origins in the Asia–Pacific Triangle, including Japan, India, Korea, China, Sri Lanka, Singapore and the Philippines using the Nationality Act of 1790 and 1906 as a legal basis, which affirmed that only “whites” could be considered for Citizenship. Such a plain bar was necessary as interesting challenges from Asians on the definition of “whiteness” had already been struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court at this point, which had been required to engage in contortions of logic when adapting the definition of whiteness for each case.
For example, in Ozawa v. United States, Mr. Ozawa had argued in favor of reclassifying the Japanese as a white race, so as to render him eligible for U.S. Citizenship. The U.S. Supreme Court struck down the argument, holding that the Japanese could not be considered Caucasian. However, a year later, in United States v. Bhagat Singh Thind (1923), in which Mr. Thind, an Indian Sikh, made a similar argument the U.S. Supreme Court held that while Mr. Thind could be considered Caucasian, he could not be considered white.
The Court’s holding resulted not only in failure for Mr. Thind, but also the few Indians who had earned U.S. Citizenship: they were denaturalized. One such case included Mr. Akhoy Kumar Mozumdar, an Indian American lecturer, prolific writer and the first Indian-born person to earn U.S. citizenship.
4. Japanese Relocation and Internment (1942)
In 1942, following the Japanese attack of Pearl Harbor and fearing the possibility of a fifth column that could commit sabotage against the U.S., President Franklin Roosevelt issued Executive Order 9066, authorizing the U.S. Secretary of War to designate regions of the U.S. as military zones, and within said zones, forcibly remove, exclude, confine and subject to curfew any individual regardless of ancestry or country of citizenship.
The vast majority affected, 120,000, were Japanese immigrants and Japanese-Americans (the majority of which were U.S. Citizens or Permanent Residents). These individuals were taken from their homes and deported to 10 concentration camps located across the Western U.S. Region and Hawaii, there surrounded by walls, gun wielding guards and barbed wire. The inmates were provided no due process or explanation. Unsurprisingly (for the day), the U.S. Supreme Court again sanctified racial discrimination by siding with the government in the controversial case Korematsu v. United States. The case has yet to be expressly overturned.