Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882
The first U.S. law aimed at preventing a specific immigrant group from coming to America based on race. It barred the immigration of all Chinese people except for merchants and their families. The law remained in effect until it was repealed in 1943. During this time, Asians became the first undocumented immigrants to the U.S.
In 1942, President Franklin Roosevelt ordered the rounding up of Japanese-Americans after Pearl Harbor was bombed. They were uprooted from their homes and placed into camps because of what the government called "military necessity." Two-thirds of the estimated 120,000 people imprisoned in the camps were U.S. citizens. The last camp was closed in 1946.
Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965
The passing of this law ushered in a new immigration era, ending the national origins quota policy that favored immigrants from western and northern Europe. The new policy abolished the quota, and instead gave preference to skilled immigrants and those seeking to be reunited with family members in the U.S.
Since 1965, the nation's immigrant population has swelled from 9.6 million to 45 million in 2015, according to the Pew Research Center. Half of those who came to America after 1965 are from Latin America, and a quarter are from Asia.
This is the year that Asians are expected to become the largest immigrant group in the United States, surpassing Hispanics, according to a recent Pew Research Center report.
By 2065, Asian immigrants are projected to account for 38 percent of the foreign-born U.S. population.