What Caused Chinese To Immigrate To America?

The Immigration Act of 1882 was passed by Congress and signed into law by President Chester A. Arthur, who vetoed similar legislation in 1879. This act excluded all Chinese immigrants from entering the United States for 10 years, and it also prohibited any future Chinese immigration for 20 years. The goal of the act was to keep out criminals and those who became unemployed after leaving America because their skills were not needed there anymore," says the Library of Congress website."

What Caused Chinese To Immigrate To America?

When the Chinese government decided to open up to the West, it opened a floodgate for thousands of immigrants. These people were forced to leave their homes and go into exile in order to escape persecution or other forms of oppression by the Chinese government. Eventually, they made their way across oceans to America and other nations. The following article will answer some questions about how and why so many people left China:

Immigration to America

The Chinese were not allowed to become citizens. They could not own land or bring their families to America. This caused many of them to leave America and go back home, where there was more freedom for them.

Gold Rush

The discovery of gold in California in 1848 led to a massive influx of Chinese immigrants. During this period, many Chinese men fled from their home country and traveled across the Pacific Ocean to find work as miners or railroad workers. Some became successful businessmen and entrepreneurs, while others returned with little money but great stories about their experiences overseas.

The transcontinental railroad was completed in 1869 when Ferdinand de Lesseps founded the Panama Canal Company (which later became known as Canal Zone Corporation). This company built an artificial canal through what is now called Panama Canal Zone; however, it also paved way for massive immigration from Asia into America due to its purpose: "to provide safe passage overland routes between Europe and Asia."

Lack of job opportunities in China.

China was experiencing a number of natural disasters during this time period, including famine and drought. The country was also in the midst of civil war.


In 1856, China suffered from an outbreak of bubonic plague that killed more than 700 people across China in 1858. The following year saw another epidemic take place with over 100 million cases reported nationwide—more than half were fatal!

This was followed by the third wave in 1862 that killed about 8% (4 million) worldwide and 15% (2 million) in Asia alone; these numbers are comparable to those seen today if we include other areas like Africa where there are still outbreaks occurring today as well as Europe where they've been around longer but haven't been as severe since then."

Suez Canal Opens.

The Suez Canal opened in 1869, and it was a shortcut between Europe and Asia. Before this time, European powers had to sail around Africa or South America to get their products to the other side of the world. This meant that it took much longer for these goods to reach their destination than they would have if they could use the Suez Canal instead.

Now that you know why so many Chinese immigrated here after 1869 (and why some people still refer to us as "Chinamen"), let's talk about how this affected our nation's economy.

The Silver Rush.

The Silver Rush was a period of intense mineral exploration and development that occurred in the American West in the second half of the 19th century. It began after 1860 when gold discoveries were made in California; it peaked around 1879 and lasted until 1885. The rush brought an influx of miners into those areas, where they quickly discovered silver deposits.

The discovery of these new metals led people worldwide to look towards America as a place where they could find wealth—and they did!

Railroad surveying and building jobs.

Chinese immigrants were hired to do the hard labor of building railroads. They were paid less than other laborers, and they had no rights or freedom to join in union activities.

When it came time for them to move from their job site, they were forced into closed quarters where they could not bring their families with them.

Chinese Exclusion Act (1882).

The Chinese Exclusion Act (1882) was a United States federal law signed by President Chester A. Arthur on May 6, 1882, prohibiting all immigration of Chinese laborers. It was repealed by the Magnuson Act in 1943 which provided for a quota of 50 Chinese entering the U.S. per year on a family basis and 100 individuals who had been legally admitted as students or skilled workers.

However many Americans still felt hostile toward Chinese immigration because of their racial stereotypes about them being “unclean” or “unintelligent” and therefore unworthy of naturalization as citizens in this country.

Chinese immigrants mostly immigrated to the US for economic reasons but were excluded by the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882.

Chinese immigrants mostly immigrated to the US for economic reasons but were excluded by the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882. This act prohibited all immigration from China, most notably prohibiting all Chinese people who were not Christian from entering or remaining in the country.

The law was passed due to concerns that many American jobs would go unfilled if there were large numbers of Chinese workers entering their workforce.

Frequently Asked Questions

However, here we are going to be answering some top frequently asked questions about Chinese immigration to America:

Can people from China immigrate to the US?

Overview. All immigrant and K visas issued in mainland China are processed at the U.S. Consulate General Guangzhou. In general, a person who wishes to immigrate to the United States must have a petition approved by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) before applying for an immigrant visa.

Where do most Chinese immigrants go?

The United States is the top destination for Chinese immigrants, accounting for almost 27 percent of the more than 12 million Chinese living outside of China, according to mid-2019 estimates by the United Nations Population Division.


How can a Chinese citizen become an American citizen?

Foreigners may naturalize as Chinese nationals if they have immediate family with Chinese nationality, possess permanent residency in mainland China or a special administrative region, or have other "legitimate reasons".

Which US city has the most Chinese?

New York City is home to by far the highest Chinese-American population of any city proper, with an estimated 573,388 Chinese-Americans in New York City, significantly higher than the total of the next five cities combined; multiple large Chinatowns in Manhattan, Brooklyn (three), and Queens.

Why did the US ban Chinese immigration?

Many Americans on the West Coast attributed declining wages and economic ills to Chinese workers. Although the Chinese composed only 0.002 percent of the nation's population, Congress passed the Chinese Exclusion Act to placate worker demands and assuage concerns about maintaining white "racial purity."

Why did Chinese migrate to America?

Chinese immigrants first flocked to the United States in the 1850s, eager to escape the economic chaos in China and to try their luck at the California gold rush. When the Gold Rush ended, Chinese Americans were considered cheap labor.

How long does it take for Chinese to get green card?

In most cases, it takes about two years for a green card to become available, and the entire process takes around three years. It can take slightly longer for citizens of Mexico, China, India, and the Philippines.

How long can someone from China stay in the US?

EVUS / Articles / How Long Can a Chinese Citizen Stay in the United States? The length of permitted stay in the United States is directly linked to the kind of visa the person holds in their passport. Chinese nationals who hold a B1, B2 or a combined B1/B2 visa are allowed to stay for a maximum period of 90 days.

Can a U.S. citizen marry a Chinese citizen?

Getting Married in China. As of April 1, 2019, two foreigners are not allowed to register their marriage at Civil Affairs offices in China (marriages between a foreigner and Chinese national are still permitted.) This means that two foreigners can no longer obtain a Chinese marriage certificate.


Chinese immigration to the United States was a result of many factors, including the economic boom in California and other western states. There were also political reasons for it as well as cultural ones.

The Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 was the main reason for the mass immigration to America. It caused a lot of tension among people who wanted to immigrate from China but were prohibited from doing so.

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