The Chinese Exclusion Act signed into law by President Chester A. Arthur on May 6, 1882, was followed by a series of laws that extended the exclusion of Chinese until December 17, 1943, when the Magnuson Act was enacted. The laws made it illegal for Chinese laborers to immigrate to the United States and for Chinese nationals already in the U.S. to become citizens. The Chinese were the only specific ethnic group excluded in the history of the United States. Potential Chinese immigrants were interrogated and many were detained at Angel Island after 1910. Case files of interrogation transcripts and other records, kept at the National Archive and Records Administration (NARA) regional offices, are some of the most valuable research resources for Chinese American family historians today.
Attendees discussed how the Chinese Exclusion Act and feelings toward the Chinese impacted their family members.