Undesirable Aliens, Enemy Aliens: Legacies of Chinese Exclusion


Summer 2014 quarter (Session II)

Taught by

immigration law, criminal law, immigrant rights

“The transcontinental railroad and the U.S. deportation system have much in common.  Both started at the coasts and now span the country.  Both implicate our grandest national aspirations and hide some of our most shameful historical truths… And both were in large measure built on the backs of Chinese immigrant workers who suffered immense hardships in the process of their creation.”  Daniel Kanstoom, Deportation Nation: Outsiders in American History , p. 1.

The dramatic, large scale migration of Chinese laborers into the United States from 1850 onward was met with wide-spread racism, vigilante actions, and ultimately the first efforts by Congress to establish laws that have since become commonplace: the federal power to control immigration, including the power to expel -- to deport -- another person back to his or her country of origin.  The racist backlash against the Chinese has been repeated in cycles against other groups to this day.  The laws that were passed by Congress formed the foundation of a modern immigration enforcement system of a size and ferocity unimaginable at the time.

This class will closely consider the social, political and economic circumstances of America in the 1800’s, particularly the West; when former slaves, Native Americans, and Irish, were also persecuted and vilified.  Students will then study the first early deportation and exclusion laws passed by Congress, and the Supreme Court decisions considering the constitutionality of these statutes.  With this background, we will move to a study of selected issues in modern immigration policy, including the refugee experience in the U.S., and the growth of the immigration enforcement state in post- 9/11 America.

Program Details

Fields of Study

Location and Schedule

Campus location



Offered during: Evening

Advertised schedule: Second Summer Session, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, 5:30-8pm


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Online Learning

Hybrid Online Learning < 25% Delivered Online:


Date Revision
June 12th, 2014 Course Cancelled- Students may be interested in alternative courses "Pacific Northwest History: Multicultural Perspectives" or " Immigration Law and History of the U.S. Southern Border"

Registration Information

Credits: 4 (Summer)

Class standing: Freshmen–Senior

Maximum enrollment: 25


Course Reference Number not yet available.

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