TRAVERSING THE BORDER: CHINESE IMMIGRATION THROUGH THE U.S.-MEXICO BORDER IN THE EARLY EXCLUSION ERA, 1882-1900

Open Access
Author:
Chung, Patrick
Area of Honors:
History
Degree:
Bachelor of Arts
Document Type:
Thesis
Thesis Supervisors:
  • Grace Delgado, Thesis Supervisor
  • Grace Peña Delgado, Thesis Supervisor
  • Catherine Wanner, Honors Advisor
Keywords:
  • Chinese Exclusion Act
  • Chinese Immigration
  • Baja California
  • Illegal Immigration
  • Mexican Borderlands
  • Asian American History
Abstract:
“Traversing the Border” explores the continued influx of Chinese immigrants through the Mexican border during the first two decades of the Chinese exclusion era (1882-1900). It seeks to answer why it was that Mexico became the principle route for illegal Chinese immigrants by exploring the circumstances surrounding one of the major pathways taken by illegal Chinese immigrants from Mexico into the United States, the Baja California-Southern California route. In particular, this work looks at the different challenges faced by customs agents in San Diego in stopping illegal Chinese immigration. These challenges can be broken down into three types: political, logistical and bureaucratic. The combination of all three of these factors made enforcing exclusion a difficult task for San Diego immigration officials and explains the success that many Chinese immigrants had in illegally crossing the border there. By investigating Baja California-Southern California route, it is hoped that a greater understanding can be gained about the manner in which Chinese immigrants eluded U.S. immigration officials, not only along this one route but also along the entire Mexican border.