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The Geary Act (1892)

In 1892, Thomas J. Geary, a Democratic Congressman from California, introduced a bill that extended for another decade all of the laws related to Chinese immigration. It established an internal passport system for all Chinese residents in the United States, by requiring them to apply for and carry a certificate of residence. If found without their certificate, they would be subject to deportation or imprisonment for a year of hard labor. Furthermore, bail was denied to Chinese involved in habeas corpus proceedings, and Chinese witnesses were prohibited from appearing in court. Chinese Americans and the Chinese government denounced the law. The U.S. Supreme Court upheld the Geary Act in 1893.

Sources consulted:

Charles J. McClain, In Search of Equality: The Chinese Struggle Against Discrimination in Nineteenth-Century America (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1994)

Shih-Shan Henry Tsai, The Chinese Experience in America (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1986)

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