Bachmann on Immigration: Back To the Asian Exclusion Act


At Monday nightís CNN/Tea Party Republican presidential candidatesí debate, Michelle Bachmann said that pre-1965 US immigration laws including the National Origins Act and the Asian Exclusion Act “worked very, very well.” It was only “when liberal members of Congress changed the immigration laws” in the 1960s that, says Bachmann, problems arose.

What works “very, very well,” according to Bachmann, are quotas on the number of immigrants that give European immigrants preferential treatment and policies that exclude immigrants on the basis of their race.

The first major law that restricted immigration to the US was the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, which halted Chinese immigration for ten years and prohibited the Chinese from becoming citizens. The law was extended for another ten years under the Geary Act and became permanent in 1902. It was a precursor to†immigration-restriction acts in the 1920s that led up to 1929′s National Origins Act, which put a cap on overall immigration to the United States at 150,000 per year. The number of immigrants to be admitted from any country was based on the number of people from that country who were already living in the US in 1890. As Think Progress points out, because “Americans were overwhelmingly of European descent in 1890, the practical effect of these laws was an enormous thumb on the scale encouraging white immigration.”

Furthermore, Japanese and Chinese immigrants were in effect barred from entering the US, as the law stated that no alien who was ineligible to become a citizen could be admitted to the United States as an immigrant. Under†the†Naturalization Act of 1790, non-whites were not eligible for naturalization and were therefore, in effect, not allowed to immigrate to the US.

In other words, they were not only barred — on the basis of their race –†from being naturalized as US citizens, but from immigrating to the US.

Those quotas were only eliminated under the†the†Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965, a law which is “widely credited for opening up our nation to new Americans of Asian and Central and South American descent.” But according to Bachmann, the 1965 law is immigration policy that doesn’t “work” so well. As she said on Sunday,

What works is to have people come into the United States with a little bit of money in their pocket, legally, with sponsors so that if anything happens to them they donít fall back on the taxpayers to take care of them.

It’s not just any tired, poor, “huddled masses yearning to breathe free” that we (according to Bachmann) wish to have emigrating to the US. Things just work “very, very well” when those “masses” are… monochromatic and not the “yellow peril.”


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Photo by Gage Skidmore


SeattleAnn S.
Ann S6 years ago

A time machine to send Michelle Bachmann back to her caveman days would be a great solution to many of the problems she sees.

irene fernandez
irene F6 years ago

Please let her speak freely!!! this is the only way she can dig her own grave come elections

Dianne Robertson
Dianne Robertson6 years ago

Michele has NO IDEA WHAT IMMIGRATION EVEN IS! She is a Racist Homophobic who also is TONE DEAF ! SHE will have PERSONALLY cost AMERICAN WOMEN their lives if ANY MOTHER refuses the cancer vaccine because of HER STUPID statement against it.I never thought I'd say this but this is ONE CASE WHEN A WOMAN SHOULD STAY IN HER HOME! I think Michele has some dusting to do!

Richard B.
Richard B.6 years ago

This is a bunch of bull. I don't believe Bachman is racist or anti immigration. She has my vote in 2012.

Vicky Locke
Vicky Locke6 years ago

There she goes again! She opens her mouth and out comes idiocy.

Sheila L.
Sheila Swan L6 years ago

I think it is VERY important we work against the possibility of this woman having any part of
running our government. She is a racist, clearly and has a lack of heart and knowledge about
what our country should be now and before.

John Doe
james rico6 years ago

i think she 100% right about that vaccine its very bad stuff i hear lots of true health crusaders comeing out against it for sure and who knows the harm that will be done by it 20years from now as they grow up if anyone still believes by now that they can trust big pharma and the AMA and the likes of that crooked crowd then you are more like a sheep than i thought and i would like to sell you a brdge and you are very gullible and stupid as well thats the same crowd that wants to ban your right to buy supplements and herbs how nice of them but then again if you are that stupid you don/t believe in supplements you think your joe six pack life style is just fine

Marie W.
Marie W6 years ago

Nutjob Bachman always good for crazy.

David Johnson
David J6 years ago

Perhaps Bachmann has never read or even heard of Emma Lazarus....Given her stance that the HPV vaccine causes mental retardation, and that her(closet queen huband's) couseling center uses "pray the gay away " therapy, it should come as no surprise that she would want immigration policies like those of yesteryear. I wish I knew who opened the gates of the asylum and let her out.

Linda Tonner
Linda Tonner6 years ago

Strange about this immigrant thing! When I had cancer, I was operated on by a Greek and also had care from his brother. When other pains had to be looked at with electrodes, the expert doctors were an Indian (east and quite dark skinned) and an Iranian.................... shock horror!
At least 2 of my nurses for the cancer bout were west Indian, again, pretty dark skinned. I didn't stop to ask any of them if they were legal or not, though I think the hospital probably employed them as such. I am just glad they were in THIS State and not somewhere else.

Oh and, one of the smartest, most industrious, intelligent, educated, polite, friends I have, in fact, one of the best, happens to be Russian! And WOW! Can she cook! Our foursome almost competes to see who can produce the best food and wine whenever we get together.
Unfortunately not too often now we are all getting so poor! Thanks Repubs!