July 31's Fact of the Week: 1893 Fong Yue Ting v. US

Fong and two other Chinese men were arrested for violating provisions of the 1892 amendments to the Chinese Exclusion Act. The amendments not only continued to bar Chinese laborers from entering American shores but required those already in the United States to obtain a certificate of residence from an internal revenue officer stating that they were legally entitled to be here. Fong Yue Ting, though a permanent resident of New York City since 1879, had never bothered to register and was arrested for violating these provisions. The decision of the Supreme Court confirmed the right of the Congress to treat aliens as it wished, and this legislation became the constitutional bedrock for all subsequent questions as to Congress' rights in regard to immigrants.