Magnuson Act

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Magnuson Act
Great Seal of the United States
Long titleAn Act to repeal the Chinese Exclusion Acts, to establish quotas, and for other purposes.
Acronyms (colloquial)CERA
NicknamesChinese Exclusion Repeal Act of 1943
Enacted bythe 78th United States Congress
EffectiveDecember 17, 1943
Public lawPub.L. 78–199
Statutes at Large57 Stat. 600
Acts repealedChinese Exclusion Act
Titles amended8 U.S.C.: Aliens and Nationality
U.S.C. sections amended8 U.S.C. ch. 7 §§ 262-297 & 299
Legislative history

The Chinese Exclusion Repeal Act of 1943, also known as the Magnuson Act, was an immigration legislation proposed by U.S. Representative (later Senator) Warren G. Magnuson of Washington and signed into law on December 17, 1943 in the United States.[1] It allowed Chinese immigration for the first time since the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, and permitted some Chinese immigrants already residing in the country to become naturalized citizens. However, the Magnuson Act provided for the continuation of the ban against the ownership of property and businesses by ethnic Chinese. In many states, Chinese Americans (including US citizens) were denied property-ownership rights either by law or de facto until the Magnuson Act itself was fully repealed in 1965.[2]

This act is the first legislation since 1870 which relaxed racial and national immigration barriers in the United States and started the way to the completely non-racial immigration legislation and policy of the late 1960s.

The Magnuson Act was passed on December 17, 1943, two years after China became an official allied nation of the United States in World War II. Although considered a positive development by many, it was particularly restrictive of Chinese immigrants, limiting them to an annual quota of 105 new entry visas. The quota was supposedly determined by the Immigration Act of 1924, which set immigration from qualifying countries at 2% of the number of people who were already living in the United States in 1890 of that nationality. However, the arrived-at number of 105 per annum granted to the Chinese was disproportionately low. (The quota should have been 2,150 per annum, as official census figures place the population of ethnic Chinese living in the US in 1890 at 107,488 persons.[3]) Regardless of the method of calculation, the number of Chinese immigrants allowed into the USA was disproportionately low in ratio to the sanctioned immigration of other nationalities and ethnicities.[4] Chinese immigration later increased with the passage of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952, which abolished direct racial barriers and later by the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965, which abolished the National Origins Formula.[5]


  1. ^ Peters, Peters; Woolley, John T. "Franklin D. Roosevelt: "Statement on Signing the Bill to Repeal the Chinese Exclusion Laws.," December 17, 1943". The American Presidency Project. University of California - Santa Barbara.
  2. ^ "An Unnoticed Struggle" (PDF). Japanese American Citizens League. 2008. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2010-06-13. Retrieved 2014-02-05.
  3. ^ "Comparison of Asian Populations during the Exclusion Years" (PDF). Retrieved 2014-02-05.
  4. ^ Chang, Iris (2003). The Chinese in America. New York: Viking. ISBN 0-670-03123-2.[page needed]
  5. ^ Wei, William. "The Chinese-American Experience: An Introduction". HarpWeek. Archived from the original on 2014-01-26. Retrieved 2014-02-05.