The Lost Ones – Young Chinese Americans Due to harsh immigration laws, in American history, Chinese have often relied on illegal means of entering the United States. For example, in 1882, the Chinese Exclusion Act (Chinese Exclusion Act, Documents on Anti-Chinese Immigration Policy.) was passed, the first and only act that restricted immigration from one particular ethnicity. This act restricted immigration of Chinese labourers. In 1888, this act was extended to all Chinese immigrants except for officials, teachers, students, tourists, and merchants. However, not all-prospective immigrants made it to the shores of America safely. The United States is well aware of illegal immigration and rings operating these smuggling operations.
Therefore increased vigilance at America’s doors has led to the capture of many Chinese illegal immigrants. The result of above brief history of Chinese history in America is that these new comers at the time period of illegal entering of America would eventually result the wave of 3rd generation Chinese population along with Baby Boomers after World War II. The new generation was in the era of Civil Rights movement in the 1950~1970’s. The talented, new 3rd generation possessed not only the despair of having an identity, but also faced the pressure from the elder generation of their origin cultures. It is true and inappropriate that the newer the generation, the more they refuse their own cultures.
However, from what it took the elder generations of Chinese/Asian Americans for the younger generation to be able to live under the aegis of liberty, freedom, stable society, and satiating living; I think that the younger generations should be proud of, and respect the elder generation and who they really are. Chinese who still tried to enter the United States needed to pretend that they were merchants. Others pretended to be relatives of people living in the United States. Chinese Americans who returned from visits home (China or Taiwan) and reported births of sons and daughters thereby created flaws, which were often used to bring in immigrants who posed as sons or daughters. Chinese immigrants, eager to start a new life and begin their pursuit of the elusive American dream, do not want to wait their turn in line.
Rather they want to begin their journey today, and smugglers and underground networks are more than willing to provide the decent services to do just that. At great expense, Chinese immigrants underwent the long, dangerous, and illegal route of smuggling themselves into America. They brave a long journey at sea and are willing to pay exorbitant fees and work under the pressure of Chinese Mafia once in America. These voyagers are often successfully smuggled into the United States and are placed in positions of cheap labor in Chinatown, working as waiters or sweatshop workers. Chinese immigration resumed quickly after 1906 (being shut down for many years by governmental legislation before Angel Island interrogation), an anti-Chinese climate.
Thanks to the San Francisco earthquake which destroyed most of the immigration records in the city, allowing many resident Chinese to claim U.S citizenship and many others to claim to be paper sons and daughters. The anticipated outcome that is intended or guides of the Board of Special Inquiry at Angel Island was to deport or exclude as many prospective Chinese immigrants as possible. Under the kindly explicit approval and guidance of seeking out the truth and separating the legitimate immigrants from the intended to deceive claims, the immigration service tried to get or reached to exclude the Chinese. These is obvious from the type of questions asked and avoid or try to avoid, as of duties, questions and issues of traditional rules of procedure. The types of questions were often based on previous knowledge concerning the villages of where the immigrants came from since after these inspectors had worked thousands of cases, they had gained a clear knowledge of what some of the major villages looked like.
With this knowledge of the villages’ layout, they asked questions that were purposefully wrong to trick and feign the immigrants (Clauss, 64). Another reason that motivated the immigration service at Angel Island was the “public presentation”. Chinese immigrants being landed would only draw serious examination and judgment from the public. Therefore they would prefer as many Chinese deported as possible because this would enhance their image as being thorough and completely devoted gatekeepers. The job then provided ample personal motivation to the interrogators to be especially not capable of being swayed or deviated from against the entrance of Chinese.
A decision would be made. If the decision was admittance, the detainee would be allowed to land at once. However, if the decision was deportation, the detainee had five days to protest this decision. His or her case would be retried and he or she would be re-interrogated. These appellants however, had to stay on Angel Island while waiting for their appeal hearing. It was here that some would stay as long as two years, waiting to hear from the board (Clauss, 50).
This is clearly evidenced by the interrogation process, and the main reason that the board wanted to exclude as many as possible. The Angel Island era clearly defined the hardship of earlier immigrants from China, who seek for the promise of American Dreams; yet many of those were being treated as the ‘bugs’ that sought to get away from hardship in their mother land and enter the United States to abuse the liberty and the freedom those founding fathers of United States had anticipated. Undergoing not only discriminating decisions that would eventually effect the elders’ future generations and lives; these Chinese immigrants literally risked their lives. However, many of the next generations do not appreciate or acknowledge the past. How can America, which was built on the labor and communities of immigrants, allow such indecision in these cases? It is a simple question to answer: America is simply doing what it has always done. It had ignored history. History repeats itself, and it has shown that we do not learn from our old mistakes.
By not dealing with these prospective immigrants in a fair and equal manner, we are only damned to repeat the same mistakes that our forerunners had. America should take a closer examination of what history has shown and take note of previous mistakes. We should let history be our guide in determining the fate of these Chinese immigrants and the immigration problem that we endure today. This notion of discrimination will last as far as present; and it would also be responsible for the …