In 1864 Central Pacific had only 600 laborers instead of the 5,000 they had hoped for. They turned to Chinese immigrants, men barred from marrying in the United States or bringing family from China.
By 1867, 12,000 of the 13,5000 employees of the Central Pacific were Chinese immigrants. They worked twelve hours a day, six days a week, for $26 to $35 a month. They lived out of their own tents and supplied their own food, in contrast to Caucasians, who made about $35 a month and were also given food and shelter.
Upon completion of the railroad, Chinese immigrants were subjected to local, regional, and national laws discriminating against them.