Cable Act

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The Cable Act of 1922 (ch. 411, 42 Stat. 1021, "Married Women’s Independent Nationality Act") was a United States federal law that reversed former immigration laws regarding marriage, also known as the Married Women's Citizenship Act or the Women's Citizenship Act. Previously, a woman lost her U.S citizenship if she married a foreign man, since she assumed the citizenship of her husband—a law that did not apply to men who married foreign women. It repealed sections 3 and 4 of the Expatriation Act of 1907.[1]

The law is named for Ohio representative John L. Cable, who proposed the legislation.

Former immigration laws prior to 1922 did not make reference to the alien husband's race.[2] However, The Cable Act of 1922 guaranteed independent female citizenship only to women who were married to "alien[s] eligible to naturalization".[3] At the time of the law's passage, Asian aliens were not considered to be racially eligible for U.S. citizenship.[4][5] As such, the Cable Act only partially reversed previous policies, allowing women to retain their U.S. citizenship after marrying a foreigner who was not Asian. Thus, even after the Cable Act become effective, any woman who married an Asian alien lost her U.S. citizenship, just as she would have under the previous law.

The Cable Act also had other limitations: A woman could keep her US citizenship after marrying a non-Asian alien, so long as she stayed within the United States. However, if she married a foreigner and lived on foreign soil, for as much as two years, she could still lose her right to U.S. nationality.

The Cable Act was amended in 1931, allowing females to retain their citizenship, even after marrying "aliens ineligible for U.S. citizenship".[6] In 1936, the Cable Act was repealed.[5]


  1. ^ Tsiang, I-Mien (1942). The question of expatriation in America prior to 1907. Johns Hopkins Press. p. 115. OCLC 719352. 
  2. ^ [1][broken citation]
  3. ^ Marian L. Smith (1998), "Women and Naturalization, ca. 1802-1940", Prologue Magazine 30 (2), retrieved 2009-01-03 
  4. ^ For Teachers: A Brief Introduction to Asian American History, Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Program, retrieved 2009-01-03 
  5. ^ a b Timeline of Asian American History, Digital History: University of Houston, retrieved 2009-01-03 
  6. ^ Gardner, Martha Mabie (2005), The Qualities of a Citizen: Women, Immigration, and Citizenship, 1870-1965, Princeton University Press, p. 146, ISBN 978-0-691-08993-5  ISBN 0-691-08993-0, ISBN 978-0-691-08993-5

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