Opening the Gates to Asia

A Transpacific History of How America Repealed Asian Exclusion

By Jane H. Hong

Opening the Gates to Asia

280 pp., 6.125 x 9.25, 9 halftones, 4 tables

  • Paperback ISBN: 978-1-4696-5336-5
    Published: November 2019
  • Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-4696-5335-8
    Published: November 2019

Paperback Available November 2019, but pre-order your copy today!

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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.

About the Author

Jane H. Hong is assistant professor of history at Occidental College.
For more information about Jane H. Hong, visit the Author Page.


"Jane Hong offers an impressive examination of the multiple forces that shaped America’s repeal of Asian exclusion, and adds depth and nuance to U.S. immigration history, braiding it with the history of U.S. diplomacy and civil rights. By investigating the dismantling of the Asian exclusion regime, Hong refines understandings about the United States’s growing internationalism and underscores its transpacific shift during the early twentieth century."--Cindy I-Fen Cheng, University of Wisconsin-Madison

"This book contains compelling analysis, astute observations, and a number of new and important sources. Hong makes intriguing and complex arguments while tracing the complicated transpacific struggle for repealing exclusion."--Charlotte Brooks, Baruch College

"Opening the Gates to Asia is a stunning and original work that offers a comprehensive analysis of how the United States liberalized its exclusionary immigration policy. Jane Hong emphasizes the significance of the global and the international by foregrounding U.S. empire (as it transformed from a formal to an informal one), the influence of Asian and Asian American political actors within an expansive geography, and a comparative understanding of civil rights and social movements. This book, based on extensive archival research, brings into conversation disparate fields of study to offer a transpacific analysis of the intertwining of U.S. imperial and immigration policies."--Judy Tzu-Chun Wu, University of California, Irvine