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Opening the Gates to AsiaA Transpacific History of How America Repealed Asian Exclusion$
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Jane H. Hong

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781469653365

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: September 2020

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469653365.001.0001

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Testing the Limits of Postwar Reform

Testing the Limits of Postwar Reform

Japanese Americans, Afro-Caribbeans, and the McCarran-Walter Act of 1952

(p.111) Chapter Four Testing the Limits of Postwar Reform
Opening the Gates to Asia

Jane H. Hong

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter charts the formal repeal of Asian exclusion from the vantage point of the Japanese American Citizens League and of other Americans involved in the postwar campaigns that culminated in the 1952 McCarran-Walter Act. Generally known as a Cold War measure, the law’s lesser known provisions formally ended Asian exclusion as a feature of U.S. immigration and naturalization policy. But a “colonial quota” amendment spurred protest by African and Afro-Caribbean American activists, who denounced it as an underhanded attempt by racist lawmakers to end black immigration from the Caribbean. This little-known episode of black-Japanese conflict problematizes an easy analogy between postwar legislative gains for Asian Americans and those for black Americans as wholly complementary developments; to the contrary, it identifies the postwar immigration debates as a site of greater intergroup competition than collaboration.

Keywords:   McCarran-Walter Act, Japanese American Citizens League, Afro-Caribbean, NAACP, Cold War

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