House apologizes for past legislation targeting Chinese immigrants
In a rare move, the House apologized for discriminating against Chinese immigrants through the Chinese Exclusion Act enacted 130 years ago and other legislation like it. Rep. Judy Chu, D-Calif., the first Chinese-American woman elected to Congress, sponsored the resolution.
Los Angeles Times
WASHINGTON — One hundred and thirty years after passage of the Chinese Exclusion Act, the House on Monday expressed its regret for enacting discriminatory laws targeting Chinese immigrants.
The rare apology came on a resolution sponsored by Rep. Judy Chu, D-Calif., the first Chinese-American woman elected to Congress.
Chu, whose grandfather was forced to register and carry a certificate of residence for about 40 years because of the laws, told House colleagues Monday: "It is for my grandfather and for all Chinese Americans who were told for six decades by the U.S. government that the land of the free wasn't open to them that we must pass this resolution."
The Senate approved a similar resolution last fall.
The vote came after Chu revised the resolution to specify that nothing in it should be construed as support for reparations.
Chu was approached by a coalition of Chinese-American groups to introduce the resolution shortly after her election to the House in 2009.
The resolution made it to the House floor after Chinese Americans stepped up efforts to persuade their representatives to support the measure.
To call attention to the resolution, Chu recently held a news conference at the downtown Los Angeles site of the 1871 Chinese Massacre, in which 19 Chinese were killed by a mob of about 500.
Between 1879 and 1904, Congress passed a number of laws targeting Chinese immigrants.
One was the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, signed by President Arthur.
It barred Chinese laborers from entering the country for a decade and denied U.S. citizenship to Chinese immigrants already here. The law was repealed in 1943 after China became a U.S. ally in World War II.
Congress has issued similar apologies before, but they are rare.