Archives #2 – Courtlyn Plunkett

The files I found this archival trip showed why Chinese immigrants were dismissed and excluded from becoming a citizen in the United States. For instance, I had a lot of cases where the subject of question was deported because they were in violation of the Immigration Act of February 5, 1917 because they entered without inspection, by means of false and misleading statements. The Immigration Act of February 5, 1917 is also known as the Asiatic Barred Zone Act. This act restricted immigrants that are found undesirable such as idiots, imbeciles, criminals, and the poor. For example, Chew Gong also known as See To Cheung, served a jail sentence conviction on a charge of conspiracy. I had a lot of Chinese immigrants getting caught for this because of their usage of an alias. It was because they entered without inspection and false statements, that in every scenario that these people were deported back to their home country of China. Along with these types of cases, another case stood out as well. This case clearly shows the lack of rights the Chinese had. It is said that women can have derivative citizenship if married to an American citizen or they can apply separately for citizenship. As well, children who are born in the United States have derivative citizenship. The case is of a Chinese woman, Wong Shee, who was married to an American citizen for almost seven years. However, one month prior to seven years, her husband died. In 1912, she obtained a native’s return certificate. She returned to the U.S. in 1924, in which she was examined by the Medical Examiner of Aliens. It was here that it was determined she was afflicted with Clonorchiasis and was mandatorily excluded and set for deportation. Clonorchiasis is stated to be a Class A contagious disease caused by Chinese liver fluke.  First, she was given six months of required treatment and she was still afflicted then she is still set for deportation and if not afflicted she is released. Overall, Wong Shee was not being refused because of her husband’s death, but because upon re-entering the US she was afflicted with a disease. Wong Shee also has native-born children in the US as well as children in China. Since the children in the US are old enough to take care of the younger siblings, she is said to be needed more in China where the children are younger. Overall, I had a large abundance of Chinese aliens being denied and deported because they entered without inspection. I would have interested to find more information on cases of Chinese Aliens not getting deported or possibly other reasons for deportation.

Commissioner General of Immigration, Labor Department, Washington D.C. April 22, 1925, File 55245-815, accession E9, Subject Correspondence, 1906-1932, Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, RG 85 (National Archives, Washington, DC). 

In re Chew Gong alias Wong Sun, and Chew How alias See Hoo How. April 26, 1918, File 54269-10, accession E9, Subject Correspondence, 1906-1932, Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, RG 85 (National Archives, Washington, DC). 

US Immigration Legislation Online. Accessed October 23, 2019.

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