Filipino American Experience
Historical Timeline/Major Events
(additional items and details may be added over the course of the quarter as relevant)
1492 Columbus’ (failed) expedition to India.
1587 The landing of the Spanish galleon Nuestra Señora de Esperanza in Morro Bay marking the first presence of Filipinos (referred to in the ship’s logs as Luzones Indios) in the continental United States.
1760s Filipino slaves escaped their Spanish colonial masters and settled in present-day Louisiana.
1790 First U.S. nationality act grants naturalized citizenship to “free white persons.” (Amended in 1870 to include “persons of African nativity and descent.”)
1839 “Manifest Destiny” genocide of First Nations/Native Americans
1848 Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo ending the Mexican-American War and leads to U.S. possession of California. Gold is discovered. Chinese begin to arrive in large numbers.
1865 Ratification of the 13th Amendment ending the enslavement of Africans
1869- Chinese recruited in large numbers to complete the transcontinental railroad.
1878 In re Ah Yup court ruling determines Chinese ineligible for citizenship because they are not “white” (first in a series of similar test cases).
1880 Section 69 of California’s Civil Code refuses marriage licenses to whites and “Mongolians, Negroes, mulattoes and persons of mixed blood.”
1881 Removal of Queen Liliuokalani from the throne in Hawaii.
1882 Chinese Exclusion Act
1898 Treaty of Paris: From Spain to the U.S.; Philippines is sold for $20 million; Annexation of Hawaii
1899 Rudyard Kipling’s “The White Man’s Burden”
1903 The Pensionado Act allowed Filipino college students to enter the U.S.
1907 Gentlemen’s Agreement
1907+ Systematic recruitment of Filipino agricultural workers and manual laborers to the U.S. (and Hawaii) was instituted. Their presence prompted anti-Filipino riots later. Filipino workers in the U.S. formed mutual support organizations and joined labor unions.
1917 Immigration Act
1924 Immigration Act
1931 Filipinos in the U.S. armed forces become eligible for U.S. citizenship
1933 Salvador Roldan vs. LA County, tests the anti-miscegenation laws. The anti-Filipino forces however soon get legislation added onto existing laws to include Filipino-white in anti-miscegenation prohibitions.
1934 Morrison vs. California holds Filipinos ineligible for citizenship.
1934 Tydings-McDuffie Act assigned an annual quota of 50 Filipinos to enter the U.S. per year and promised Philippine independence after a 10-year commonwealth period.
1935 The U.S. Congress passed Repatriation Bill to facilitate the expulsion of Filipinos from the U.S.
1941 The U.S. enters WWII.
1942-1945 Japanese occupation of the Philippines.
1944 Bretton-Woods and the establishment of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank
1945 WWII ends/Cold War Begins
1945-50 The War Brides Act allowed Filipinas married to U.S. Armed Forces personnel to settle in the U.S.
1946 The U.S. granted the Philippines “Independence”
1946 The Philippine Trade Act granted nonquota immigrant status to Philippine citizens, their spouses, and children who have resided in the U.S. for a continuous period of three years prior to November 30, 1941.
1946 The Filipino Naturalization Act (also known as the Luce-Cellar Act) conferred the right of naturalization and set annual immigration quota of 100 for Filipinos.
1946 The Rescission Act deemed that U.S. Filipino WWII veterans did not engage in military service and therefore did not deserve full veteran benefits.
1950-1953 Korean War
1961-1975 Vietnam War
1965 Immigration and Naturalization Act increased the quota for Filipinos through family unification and professional worker provisions.
1970 First Quarter Storm in the Philippines
1972 Marcos declared martial law in the Philippines forcing many to seek political refugee status in the U.S.
1974 The Marcos regime in the Philippine enacted the Labor Export Program (LEP) to systematically export Filipino workers as commodities to work in other countries and use their remittances to finance the underdeveloped Philippine economy.
1976 Health Professions Educational Assistance Act reduced influx of foreign doctors, nurses, and pharmacists. The Eilberg Act further restricted immigration of professionals.
1986 The Marcos regime collapsed after decades of people’s legal and underground resistance.
1986 The Immigration Reform and Control Act penalized employers for hiring undocumented workers while provided amnesty to the undocumented who could prove they worked and resided in the U.S. before 1982.
1989 Immigration Nursing Relief Act allowed foreign nurses holding temporary work visas to become permanent residents. Also created the H-1A visa which is a temporary visa for foreign nurses.
1990 Immigration Act new preference system introduced; three admission tracts including: family-sponsorship (excluding exempted categories of parents, spouses and children); employment-based (no longer tied to admissions linked to family-sponsorship) diversity visas. Also created visas for employment-creating investors
1996 The Illegal Immigrant Reform and Individual Responsibility Act (IIRIRA) moved to criminalize and deport U.S. Filipinos who are contract workers, immigrants, and U.S. citizens.
2001 Bombings of the WTC in NYC and the beginnings of the global “war on terror”
2002 The USA PATRIOT Act (Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism) and the Homeland Security Act allowed for the implementation of IIRIRA in an expanded manner through the dissolution of the INS and the establishment of the Department of Homeland Security. Within the Department of Homeland Security, the government’s immigration enforcement capacities were bolstered with the formation of ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement).
2003 Iraq War (extension of the “global war on terror”)
Drawn in part from several sources:
1) Ating Kalagayan: The Social and Economic Profile of U.S. Filipinos by Peter Chua in conjunction with the National Bulosan Center and the National Alliance for Filipino Concerns. National Bulosan Center: 4021 69th Street, Suite A, Woodside, NY 11377, 2009. (items in BOLD)
2) Asian American Studies, edited by Jean Yu-Wen Shen Wu and Min Song. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press. 2000.
3) “U.S. Immigration Policies and Asian Migration,” by Paul Ong and John M. Liu in Contemporary Asian America: A Multidisciplinary Reader edited by Min Zhou and James Gatewood. New York: New York University. 2000.