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US immigration legislation online


1885 Contract Labor Law (An act to prohibit the importation and migration of foreigners and aliens under contract or agreement to perform labor in the United States, its territories, and the District of Columbia)

Sess. II Chap. 164; 23 Stat. 332.

48th Congress; February 26, 1885.

You can find the full text of this law as a PDF here.



The 1885 Contract Labor Law forbade American individuals or organizations from engaging in labor contracts with individuals prior to their immigration to the United States, and forbade ship captains from transporting immigrants under labor contracts.


Many thanks to Hein Online for document provision, and The University of Washington-Bothell Library, for arranging web hosting. If you have any questions about this site, please contact the course instructor, Sarah Starkweather, at sarah [dot] starkweather [at] gmail [dot] com.