Introduction of Resolutions of Regret for Chinese Exclusion Acts

Judy Chu in May 2010 with members of Nat’l Council of Chinese Americans, who delivered a petition for a resolution.

Just in time for the closeout of APA Heritage Month, a group of elected officials, including Judy Chu (D-Calif and the first Chinese American female to be elected to Congress), U.S. Rep. Judy Biggert (R-Ill.) and Patty Murray (D-Wash.), introduced House and Senate Resolutions calling on Congress to formally acknowledge and express regret for the passage of the Chinese Exclusion Laws.

Enacted between 1882 and 1924, the Chinese Exclusion Laws severely restricted the immigration, naturalization, and land ownership (among other things) of people of Chinese descent. The Chinese are the only racial group ever specifically banned from the United States.

The Chinese Exclusion Act was repealed in 1943 after China became a U.S. ally in WWII, and allowed a national quota of 105 Chinese immigrants per year (although a law in California that prohibited  Chinese people from marrying whites was not repealed until 1948). Large-scale Chinese immigration didn’t happen until the passage of the Immigration Act of 1965.

Although the Chinese Exclusion laws have been revoked, Congress has never formally acknowledged or expressed regret for the harm and destruction these discriminatory laws caused in the Asian American community.

I think we can all agree with Tuyet Le, executive director of the Asian American Institute, who said: “Passage of this resolution is long overdue” and  Titi Liu, executive director of the Asian Law Caucus, who added: “Acknowledging the unconstitutionality of these laws is necessary to ensure that other groups in the future are not similarly discriminated against.”

More info here.

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