Scott Act (United States) (1888)


In response to growing antagonism toward immigrants generally and Chinese immigrants specifically, Pennsylvania representative William Scott, a Democrat, introduced legislation to extend restrictions embodied in the Chinese Exclusion Act (1882).

The Scott Act excluded immigration of "all persons of the Chinese race,” excepting "Chinese officials, teachers, students, merchants, or travelers for pleasure or curiosity.” A Chinese laborer who had come to the United States prior to 1882 was permitted to leave and return only if he had "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.” Further, all Chinese who qualified for entry, excepting "diplomatic or consular officers and their attendants,” were required to obtain certificates of clearance in advance from U.S. representatives in China. The measure was passed on September 13, 1888 and approved by President Grover Cleveland on October 1, 1888.

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