Twinkling stars off in the distant sky shine as a symbol of hope. Hope for those who dream for a better way of living, and a new beginning. Thus this dream would soon be a reality for people of Asian ethnicity, but would prove to be far more difficult then imagined. The road that lied ahead would be full of difficult obstacles, and implicit messages that read “go home,” but what was home?
People previously known as Orientals and now classified as Asian Americans have almost all, at one time or another, been excluded from U.S. citizenship. Asians were discriminated against because of the color of their skin, or simply put they weren’t white.One huge obstacle was “The Naturalization Act of May 16, 1790, which required a two year residence in the United States and one year residence in the state where the naturalization was granted”(Ogle County Naturalization). This Act regulated those who weren’t “free whites,” and especially targeted Asian immigrants. Congressfirst created this Act in hopes to discourage immigration by any non white persons. By the mid 1800s citizenship was finally given to African Americans thanks to the 14th Amendment, however Asian immigrants continued to be discriminated against. Not having citizenship in America clearly had its disadvantages.
For example, in May 1952 the foreign miners’ license tax was issued. American miners felt threatened from the presence of Chinese miners. American miners wanted to eliminate competition from foreign miners. The California Assembly argued that “they degraded the American white workers already in the state and discouraged other Americans from coming to California” (Takaki 81). This tax directed specifically towards the Chinese, which now required a monthly payment from all foreign miners. Since the Chinese at this time could not gain citizenship because of the Naturalization Act of 1790, they soon found themselves victim to this tax.