Cable Act

The Cable Act of 1922 (ch. 411, 42 Stat. 1021, "Married Women's Independent Nationality Act") was a United States federal law that partially reversed the Expatriation Act of 1907. (It is also known as the Married Women's Citizenship Act or the Women's Citizenship Act). Previously, a woman lost her US citizenship if she married a foreign man, since she assumed the citizenship of her husband, a law that did not apply to US citizen men[clarification needed] who married foreign women. The law repealed sections 3 and 4 of the Expatriation Act of 1907.[1][clarification needed]

Cable Act
Great Seal of the United States
Other short titles
  • Married Women's Citizenship Act
  • Married Women's Independent Nationality Act
  • Women's Citizenship Act
Long titleAn Act relative to the naturalization and citizenship of married women.
NicknamesCable Act of 1922
Enacted bythe 67th United States Congress
EffectiveSeptember 22, 1922 (at very bottom of page and on following pages)
Public law67-346
Statutes at Large42 Stat. 1021b
Acts repealedExpatriation Act of 1907
Titles amended8 U.S.C.: Aliens and Nationality
U.S.C. sections created8 U.S.C. ch. 9 §§ 367-370
Legislative history

The law is named for Ohio representative John L. Cable, who proposed the legislation.

Context of the LawEdit

Former immigration laws prior to 1922 did not make reference to the alien husband's race.[2] However, The Cable Act of 1922 guaranteed independent female citizenship only to women who were married to an "alien eligible to naturalization," where said naturalization also excluded aliens ineligible to citizenship via specific exclusions as codified in Immigration Law.[3] At the time of the law's passage, Asian aliens were not considered to be racially eligible for US citizenship.[4][5] As such, the Cable Act only partially reversed previous policies and allowed women to retain their US citizenship after marrying a foreigner who was not Asian.

The Cable Act also had other limitations: a woman lost her citizenship upon marriage to an alien ineligible to citizenship; a woman could keep her US citizenship after marrying a non-Asian alien if she stayed within the United States. However, if she married a foreigner and lived on foreign soil for two years, she could still lose her right to US nationality.

1930 Cable Act Amendments reinforced a woman's loss of citizenship through marriage to an alien ineligible to citizenship, and Section 3 of unedited versions of the law's text indicate that: If at the termination of the marital status she is a citizen of the United States, she shall retain her citizenship regardless of her residence.

ln 1931, the Naturalization Act of 1906 amendment allowed females to retain their citizenship even if they married an Asian.[6] In 1936, the Cable Act was not rescinded by the 74th United States Congress'. Congress did pass a law "to repatriate native-born women who have heretofore lost their citizenship by marriage to an alien, and for other purposes...said purpose clarified that women who lost citizenship prior to September 22, 1922, to an alien (either eligible to citizenship or ineligible to citizenship), and whose marital status with such alien has or shall have terminated, shall be deemed to be a citizen of the United States to the same extent as though her marriage to said alien had taken place on or after September 22, 1922 (when the Cable Act came into legal force). The 1936 law merely clarified that a married woman who lost her citizenship before or on September 22, 1922 could "retain" her citizenship" provided she was NOT married to an alien ineligible to citizenship, and the Act of 1936 further clarified that such woman was not a citizen until such time as she took the oath of citizenship.[5][7]

Amendments to 1922 ActEdit

U.S. Congressional amendments to the Married Women's Citizenship Act.

Date of Enactment Public Law Number U.S. Statute Citation U.S. Legislative Bill U.S. Presidential Administration
July 3, 1930 P.L. 71-508 46 Stat. 854 H.R. 10960 Herbert Hoover
March 3, 1931 P.L. 71-829 46 Stat. 1511 H.R. 10672 Herbert Hoover
May 17, 1932 Public Resolution 20 47 Stat. 158a S.J.Res. 36 Herbert Hoover
May 24, 1934 P.L. 73-250 48 Stat. 797 H.R. 3673 Franklin D. Roosevelt

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Tsiang, I-Mien (1942). The question of expatriation in America prior to 1907. Johns Hopkins Press. p. 115. OCLC 719352.
  2. ^ [1] Archived 2007-01-15 at the Wayback Machine[full citation needed]
  3. ^ Marian L. Smith (1998), "Women and Naturalization, ca. 1802-1940", Prologue Magazine, 30 (2), retrieved 2009-01-03
  4. ^ For Teachers: A Brief Introduction to Asian American History, Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Program, retrieved 2009-01-03
  5. ^ a b Timeline of Asian American History, Digital History: University of Houston, archived from the original on 2009-04-22, retrieved 2009-01-03
  6. ^ Gardner, Martha Mabie (2005), The Qualities of a Citizen: Women, Immigration, and Citizenship, 1870-1965, Princeton University Press, p. 146, ISBN 978-0-691-08993-5 ISBN 0-691-08993-0, ISBN 978-0-691-08993-5
  7. ^ "AN ACT To repatriate native-horn women who have heretofore lost their citizenship by marriage to an alien, and for other purposes" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2015-11-20. Retrieved 2018-06-07.

External linksEdit