Did you know the Page Act of 1875 was the United States of America’s first restrictive federal immigration law? While was ostensibly intended to forbid forced labor and trafficking for prostitution, it’s impact fell on Asian women in general, stereotyping them in a hyper-sexualized fashion, an issue that persists to this day. The labor elements of the law were largely ignored and its enforcement fell almost entirely on women, the majority of whom had no affiliation with prostitution, and who simply wished to immigrate to join their families or for economic reasons. Women attempting to enter the country from Asia (primarily but not entirely from China in this era) were separated from their families and subjected to invasive and humiliating interrogation. The numbers of women attempting to immigrate dropped sharply, likely the intent of the law. In 1882 the Chinese Exclusion Act created even harsher consequences.
For AAPI HERITAGE MONTH #STOPASIANHATE