The Case of the 22 Lewd Chinese Women

The Case of the 22 Lewd Chinese Women

"About a century and a half ago ... California set out to seal its borders against unwelcome arrivals. As today, the state’s immigration code met legal challenges, and the resulting Supreme Court decision helped firmly establish federal authority over immigration. One critical case involved 22 Chinese women who were identified by a California official as “lewd”—i.e., prostitutes—and barred from entering the United States under state law. Its story shows how 19th-century Supreme Court justices came to disapprove mightily of state efforts to regulate immigration." - Paul A. Kramer, Slate, Apr. 23, 2012.