The Lawyer Who Beat Back a Racist Law, One Loophole at a Time

Y.C. Hong Helped Chinese Immigrants Stay in America by Gaming a System Designed to Deport Them

Yang on Hong LEAD

Recent politics is full of debates about erecting walls on the U.S.-Mexican border or barring Muslims from entering the U.S. But excluding groups of immigrants based on a particular background is nothing new—though the targets may change. It was in 1882 that Congress, for the first time in the history of the United States, passed legislation to prevent a specific ethnic group from entering the country. In effect from 1882 to 1943, the Chinese Exclusion Act forbade Chinese residents from naturalizing as U.S. citizens and forbade Chinese “laborers” from entering …

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