The Chinese Exclusion Act was passed by Congress in 1882 as a means of restricting Chinese immigration. Chinese immigrants were banned from entering the United States under penalty of deportation or imprisonment. It was the culmination of more than 30 years of growing anti-Chinese sentiment which began during the California Gold Rush when many Chinese left their homeland to seek their fortune. Unfortunately, their labor was exploited and they were treated unjustly.
The Chinese Exclusion Act was not repealed until the middle of the twentieth century. It is a significant document because it marked the first restriction on immigration in U.S. history.