Document 3: Instructional Questions and Answers for Immigration Officials

Executive Files Retrieved from Immigration and Naturalization Service Including Instructions for Chinese Inspectors, compiled by M. C. Faris, 1933. National Archives and Records Administration: Pacific Alaska Region (Seattle).

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Q What was the date of the treaty upon which the present Chinese laws and regulations are based?
A November 17, 1880.

Q What did the United States seek in this treaty?
A A modification of existing treaties.

Q Why did the United States seek a modification of existing treaties?
A Because of the constantly increasing emigration of Chinese laborers to the U.S. and the embarrassment consequently upon such emigration.

Q According to this Treaty what class of Chinese were excluded from the United States?
A Chinese laborers.

Q What protection did this Treaty guarantee Chinese laborers already in the United States?
A Article 3 states that if Chinese laborers, or Chinese of any other class, now either permanently or temporarily residing in the territory of the United States, meet with ill treatment at the hands of any other persons, the Government of the United States will exert all its power to devise measures for their protection and to secure to them the same rights, privileges, immunities, and exemptions as may be enjoyed by the citizens or subjects of the most favored nation, and to which they are entitled by treaty.

Q Why was the Treaty of 1880-1881 made between the United States and China?
A Because of labor trouble. The coming of Chinese laborers to the United States or their residence therein affected or threatened to affect the interests of that country.

Q What class of Chinese, according to this Treaty, are allowed to come to the United States?
A Article II states that Chinese subjects, whether proceeding to the United States as teachers, students, merchants, or from curiosity, together with their body and household servants, and Chinese laborers who are now in the United States.

Q Why was the Act of May 6, 1882, as amended and added to by the Act of July 5, 1884, passed?
A To execute certain treaty stipulations relating to Chinese, as in the opinion of the Government of the United States Chinese laborers in this country endangered the good order in certain localities within the U.S.

Q For how long would Chinese laborers be excluded from the United States by the Act of May 6, 1882, and as amended by the Act of July 5, 1884?
A From and after the passage of that Act and until the expiration of ten years next after the passage of the Act, the coming of Chinese laborers to the United States be, and the same is hereby suspended, and during such suspension it shall not be lawful for any Chinese laborers to come from any foreign port or place, or having so come to remain within the United States.

Q What was the date of the Act prohibiting the coming of Chinese laborers to continental United States without modification, limitation or condition?
A Act of April 29, 1902, as amended by the Act of April 27, 1904.

Q What Chinese laborers were exempted from the provisions of the Act of 1882, as amended by the Act of 1884, suspending the coming of Chinese laborers to the United States for ten years?
A Chinese laborers who were in the United States on the 17th day of November 1880, or shall have come into the same before the expiration of 90 days next after the passage of the Act to which this Act is amendatory; Chinese laborers returning from abroad who had in their possession the certificate required by this Act for Chinese laborers returning to the United States; Chinese not coming to the United States on board vessels touching at ports of the United States on a voyage to any foreign port or place and Chinese not coming to the United States on board vessels compelled to touch at U.S. ports by reason of distress or stress of weather.

Q What penalty is provided against the master of a vessel who knowingly brings to the United States on such vessel, and lands or attempts to land, or permits to be landed, any Chinese laborer from any foreign port or place?
A He shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor, and upon conviction thereof shall be punished by a fine of not more than five hundred dollars for each and every Chinese laborer so brought, and may also be imprisoned for a term not to exceed one year.

Q What paper of certificate must a Chinese person other than a laborer secure in order to be allowed admission to the United States?
A A certificate commonly known as a "Section Six Certificate," which is issued by the Chinese government or such other foreign Government of which at the time said Chinese person shall be subject.

Q What information must this certificate contain, and in what language?
A This certificate shall be in the English language, and shall show such permission, with the name of the permitted person, his or her proper signature, and each certificate shall state the individual, family and tribal name in full, title or official rank, if any, the age, height, and all physical peculiarities, former and present occupation or profession, when and where and how long pursued, and place of residence of person to whom the certificate is issued, and that such person is entitled by this Act to come within the United States. The official signing the certificate must be known or shown to have authority from the foreign government.

Q According to Section 6 of this Act, is a huckster, peddler, or those engaged in taking, drying or otherwise preserving fish for home consumption or exportation, considered a merchant?
A No.

Q Must a Chinese presenting a Section 6 certificate properly visaed obtain further evidence of his right to land in the United States?
A Such certificate, visaed as aforesaid, shall be prima facie evidence of the facts set forth therein, and shall be produced to the Chinese inspector in charge at the port in the United States at which the person named therein shall arrive, and afterward produced to the proper authorities of the United States whenever lawfully demanded, and shall be the sole evidence permissible on the part of the person so producing the same to establish a right of entry into the United States but said certificate may be controverted and the facts therein stated disproved by the United States authorities.

Q Define the term "merchant" as employed in the Act of November 3, 1893, and Acts of which this Act is an amendment?
A A merchant is a person engaged in buying and selling merchandise at a fixed place of business, which business is conducted in his name, and who during the time he claims to be engaged as a merchant does not engage in the performance of any manual labor, except such as is necessary in the conduct of his business as such merchant.

Q Did the Act of September 13, 1888, place any restrictions on Chinese laborers leaving the United States with the expressed intention of returning to the United States?
A Yes, he was required to conform with certain conditions and secure a return certificate.

Q What are these conditions?
A That no Chinese laborer shall be permitted to return to the United States unless he has a lawful wife, child or parent in the United States, or property therein of the value of one thousand dollars, or debts of like amount due him and pending settlement.

Q Must a Chinese who is a citizen of China, having a legal residence in Hawaii and belonging to the exempt classes, have a Section 6 certificate to come to the United States?
A Yes.

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