The Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 was the first significant restriction on immigration to the United States. It was passed by Congress and signed into law by President Chester A. Arthur in response to growing anti-Chinese sentiment among American workers and labor unions who felt threatened by competition for jobs from Chinese immigrants. The act barred virtually all immigration of Chinese laborers for a period of 10 years, with some exceptions allowed for merchants and students. It also prevented any person of Chinese origin from becoming an American citizen, even those born in the United States.
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