Asian Immigration to the United States For the most part, Asians have had a rough time becoming equals in American society. But because of their hard work, and strong family ethics Asians as a whole have definitely become a keystone in the society of the United States. The first Asians to arrive on American shores were the Chinese. Chinese people started immigrating en masse during the 19th century. Most of them worked as railroad workers or miners. The Chinese faced a lot of prejudices and discrimination upon their arrival, and throughout their lives. Chinese Americans entered the United States through Angel Island. Angel Island is the equivalent to Ellis Island, but instead of on the East coast, Angel Island is on the West Coast of California. “Political party caucuses, labor unions, and other organizations rallied against the immigration of yet another ‘inferior race’. ” However, these hardships were endured and the Chinese continued to work hard. They earned very little money doing these hard, dangerous jobs, but it was all they could do. “Gold was discovered in California in 1848, eventually attracting thousands of Chinese miners and contract laborers. In 1850, just over 1,000 Asian immigrants entered the U. S. , but ten years later, the figure had jumped to nearly 37,000, mostly Chinese. ” 1 Upon arriving to the United States, the Chinese were promised roads paved in gold and great wages but wound up working hard jobs and making minimal money. In some areas there were even anti-Chinese riots, and protests. Many people calling the immigration the “Yellow Peril”. Other common occupations for early Chinese Americans included, agriculture, fishing, and small shop management. “As decades passed, the situation between the Chinese and the Americas improved. Such events as the Chinatowns turning from crime and drug ridden places to quiet, colorful tourist attractions, well-behaved and school conscientious Chinese children being welcomed by public school teachers, and China becoming allies with the U. S. during World War II all paved the way for Chinese Americans becoming respected members of society. ” January 13, 1903 – the S. S. Gaelic landed on Honolulu Harbor with the first wave of Korean immigrants. “The boat carried 120 men, women and children, who made up the first significant group of Korean Americans. Most of these men and women would become cheap workers and laborers on Hawaii’s booming sugar plantations. Throughout the next several years over 7,000 more Koreans would immigrate to Hawaii to meet the large demand for their low-wage work. Most of these immigrants were men. Many of the Korean workers married picture brides, who were chosen through a process of exchanging photographs between America and Korea. 3 “The Immigration Act of 1924, one of a series of anti-Asian exclusion laws, put a virtual end to immigration from Asia, preventing even Asian spouses from joining their families in America. Koreans did not – because they could not by U. S. law – immigrate to the United States for over 25 years. ” 3 Many Koreans came to the United States to seek help in freeing their homeland from Japanese rule.
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