Prior to the Chinese Student Protection Act of 1992 (CSPA), President George H.W Bush issued Executive Order 12711 in 1990. This policy implementation was solidified by the actual Act in 1992. The Act’s main sponsors were Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) for the House of Representatives and Senator Slade Gorton (R-WA) for the Senate. The Chinese Student Protection Act of 1992 was passed on May 21, 1992 by the Senate, and passed by the House of Representatives on August 10, 1992. President George H. W. Bush signed it into law on October 9, 1992. The Chinese Student Protection Act became Public Law 102-404, 106 Stat. 1969.
The Chinese Student Protection Act established permanent residence for Chinese nationals that came to the United States from June 5, 1989 to April 11, 1990. The Act was targeted towards students. The CSPA was prompted by the political repression the Chinese faced after the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989. Chinese students who were in the United States during the time of the protests participated in TV interviews, demonstration rallies, and were featured in newspaper articles. Chinese nationals were eligible to apply for permanent residency, even with expired passports. Over the years, the Act granted green cards to an estimated number of 54,000 Chinese nationals.〔See (Offset in the Per-Country Numerical Level for China-Mainland Born Immigrant Visas ) in FY 2007 annual report.〕
The green cards were referred to by the Chinese as “blood cards,” “the pejorative term for the green cards awarded to their countrymen who, by virtue of their presence in the U.S. at the time, were eligible for the Chinese Student Protection Act.” (Institute for International Integration Studies)
==Criticisms and Pitfalls of the Act==
Although CSPA was enacted to prevent political persecution of Chinese Student, the act also extended its protection to immigrants that came to America illegally, which many Americans disagreed with. Additionally, the permanent resident statute of the Act subtracted spots for Chinese immigrants to come in later years.
The Executive Director of Asia Watch, a large human-rights organization presence in China, spoke out against the CSPA, calling it unnecessary. According to the Executive Director, the only students that may have needed protection from their native country would be those that participated in televised or advertised speeches and those who wrote articles.
A document from the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization noted, “According to a cable from the U.S. Consul in Shanghai, China, over 120 returning ()… who had come to China for various reasons were interviewed (they prepared to go back to the U.S. ). Not one of them reported a problem.” These students that returned home for a visit during the time that this Act was in effect were still eligible to apply for green cards.
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