The 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act, enacted by Congress on May 6, 1882, dictated the following:
"Whereas in the opinion of the Government of the United States the coming of Chinese laborers to this country endangers the good order of certain localities within the territory thereof:
Therefore, Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That from and after the expiration of ninety days next after the passage of this act, and until the expiration of ten years next after the passage of this act, the coming of Chinese laborers to the United States be, and the same is hereby, suspended; and during such suspension it shall not be lawful for any Chinese laborer to come, or having so come after the expiration of said ninety days to remain within the United States...
That the master of any vessel who shall knowingly bring within the United States on such vessel, and land or permit to be landed, any Chinese laborer, from any foreign port or place, shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor, and on conviction thereof shall be punished by a fine of not more than five hundred dollars for each and every such Chinese laborer so brought, and maybe also imprisoned for a term not exceeding one year."
Otis L. Graham Jr., PhD, Professor Emeritus of History at the University of California, Santa Barbara, in a 2006 book entitled Unguarded Gates, A History of America's Immigration Crisis, offered the following:
"In response to a remarkable intensity of complaint on the West Coast, which was increasingly expressed nationwide, Congress moved rapidly toward a historic reversal of the tradition of laissez-faire in immigration matters... [and] by wide margins passed the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, suspending the admission of Chinese laborers for ten years... It was the first sharp curtailment of immigration to America and was extended with minor adjustments for sixty years... A new tradition of restricting U.S. immigration through federal policy had begun... The Chinese Exclusion Act, with its misleading, inept title and other flaws apparent to people living a century later, prevented what had been building as a massive and sustained immigration of Chinese laborers to Jinshan-'the Golden Mountain.' The U.S. government's first step to control one of the forces tearing at the social fabric allowed the level of social conflict between Caucasians and Chinese on the West Coast to slowly drain away to be replaced by the occidental-oriental accommodation and amity that prevailed on the West Coast in the latter half of the twentieth century."
Roger Daniels, PhD, Professor of History at the University of Cincinnati, in his 2004 book entitled Guarding the Golden Door: American Immigration Policy and Immigrants Since 1882, wrote:
"In the beginning Congress created the Chinese Exclusion Act. Like much of what Congress has done about immigration since then, it was conceived in ignorance, was falsely presented to the public, and had consecuences undreamt of by its creators. That May 1882 statute, which has long been treated as a minor if somewhat disreputable incident, can now be seen as a nodal point in the history of American immigration policy. It marked the moment when the golden doorway of admission to the United States began to narrow and initiated a thirty-nine-year period of successive exclusions of certain kinds of immigrants, 1882-1921, followed by twenty two years, 1921-43, when statutes and administrative actions set narrowing numerical limits for those immigrants who had not otherwise been excluded. During those years a federal burocracy was created to control immigration and immigrants, a bureaucracy whose initial raison d'être was to keep out first Chinese and then others who were deemed inferior."