Opening the Gates to Asia: A Transpacific History of How America Repealed Asian Exclusion 

by Jane H. Hong, PhD

Over the course of less than a century, the U.S. transformed from a nation that excluded Asians from immigration and citizenship to one that receives more immigrants from Asia than from anywhere else in the world. Yet questions of how that dramatic shift took place have long gone unanswered. In this first comprehensive history of Asian exclusion repeal, Jane H. Hong unearths the transpacific movement that successfully ended restrictions on Asian immigration.

The mid-twentieth century repeal of Asian exclusion, Hong shows, was part of the price of America’s postwar empire in Asia. The demands of U.S. empire-building during an era of decolonization created new opportunities for advocates from both the U.S. and Asia to lobby U.S. Congress for repeal. Drawing from sources in the United States, India, and the Philippines, Opening the Gates to Asia charts a movement more than twenty years in the making. Positioning repeal at the intersection of U.S. civil rights struggles and Asian decolonization, Hong raises thorny questions about the meanings of nation, independence, and citizenship on the global stage.

Talking Legal History Podcast

Podcast interview with Jane Hong

Listen to Jane Hong’s podcast interview with Siobhan Barco of the New Books Network: Legal History

Virtual Book Discussion

In this virtual book discussion for the Immigration and Ethnic History Society (IEHS), Jane Hong discusses her book, Opening the Gates to Asia: A Transpacific History of How America Repealed Asian Exclusion (University of North Carolina Press, 2019)

Book Break with Jane Hong

Jane’s appearance on Book Break, hosted by the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History.

Selected Research Publications

“The Asian American Movement and the Church,” Journal of Asian American Studies 25:1 (February 2022): 63-95.

In Search of a History of Asian American Evangelicals,” Religion Compass (December 2019).

“’A Cross-Fire between Minorities’: Black-Japanese Relations and the ‘Empire Quota’ in the Postwar Movement to Repeal Asian Exclusion,” Pacific Historical Review 87:4 (Fall 2018): 667–701.

Manila Prepares for Independence: Filipina/o Campaigns for U.S. Citizenship and the Reorienting of American Ethnic Histories,” Journal of American Ethnic History 38:1 (Fall 2018): 5-33.
** Winner of the 2017-2018 Qualey Memorial Award from the Immigration and Ethnic History Society.

The Origins and Construction of Korean America: Immigration before 1965,” in Brill Companion to Korean American Studies, eds. Shelley Lee and Rachael Joo (Leiden, Netherlands: Brill Press, 2018), 3-20.

The Repeal of Asian Exclusion,” in Oxford Research Encyclopedia in American History, ed. Jon Butler (New York: Oxford University Press, 2015).

The 1952 McCarran-Walter Act” and “Asian American Views of Incarceration,” in Densho Encyclopedia of Japanese American Incarceration.

Writing for General Audiences

What the Election of Asian American GOP Women Means for the Party” (“Made by History” column), Washington Post, March 8, 2021.

The Law that Made America Diverse,” Los Angeles Times, October 2, 2015.