A U.S. law suspending Chinese immigration into America.
The Chinese Exclusion Act, signed in 1882, was a Federal law that suspended Chinese immigration into America. The ban was supposed to last 10 years, but it was expanded several times and was essentially in effect until WWII.
Chinese immigrants worked very hard for very little pay, so their labor was in high demand from big business (especially railroad companies--the Transcontinental Railroad was built mostly on Chinese labor). The prospect of competition from poor Chinese immigrants scared most unskilled workers. Most labor unions denounced Chinese immigration, which eventually led to this act's passage.