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And restrictive laws, such as the 1913 Alien Land Law in California aimed at preventing Chinese and Japanese from owning and farming land, also affected Indian immigrants.
No significant immigration took place until the 1965 Immigration Act.
Even though much of their efforts would be unsuccessful, the actions demonstrated that above all else, they wanted to become Americans and be treated just like any other American.
Rather than accepting the demeaning stereotype of them as perpetual foreigners, Chinese Americans showed that they wanted to assimilate into American society and contribute to its growth, prosperity, and culture.
Even though the Chinese workers performed virtually all of the hardest, dirtiest, and most dangerous jobs, they were only paid 60% of what European immigrant workers got paid.
The project pitted the Union Pacific (working westward from Nebraska) and the Central Pacific (working eastward from Sacramento) against each other for each mile of railroad track laid.
At its peak, 9,000 to 12,000 Chinese worked for the Central Pacific in some of the dirtiest and most dangerous jobs (different sources have different estimates on exact numbers).
No wonder that when four Sikhs were allowed to land in San Francisco on April 6, 1899, it was a newsworthy event.
It was unclear what happened to those Sikhs, but soon many other Sikhs followed, also seeking their fortunes.