US House 'regrets' Chinese Exclusion

The House of Representatives unanimously passed a resolution Monday decrying a law -- more than a century old -- that prevented Chinese people from immigrating to the United States.

The resolution, approved by the Democratic-led Senate in October, voices 'regret' for the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, which banned Chinese workers from further immigration and barred existing residents from naturalization and voting.

The Act lasted for roughly six decades, and marked the first and only time the United States federal government explicitly rejected an immigrant group on the basis of their origin.

"Today (is) a rare moment in history for the Chinese American community," said Representative Judy Chu, the Democratic head of the US Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC).

Chu proposed the legislation and reached an agreement with the rival Republican Party to bring the resolution to a vote today.

"Today, the House made history when both chambers of Congress officially and formally acknowledged the ugly and un-American nature of laws that targeted Chinese immigrants."

Census figures show that over 100,000 ethnic Chinese lived in the United States around the turn of the 19th century. Many were recruited from China "to work as cheap labor to do the most dangerous work laying the tracks" on the transcontinental railroad, said Congressman Mike Honda, immigration task force chair of the CAPAC.

Honda added that the early Chinese-American immigrants "strengthened our nation's infrastructure, only to be persecuted when their labor was seen as competition and the dirtiest work was done."

The US Congress only repealed the Exclusion Act after Japanese wartime propaganda cited the law to question China's alliance with the United States.

"To have moral authority around the world, we must speak out against prejudice at home," said House Democrat leader Nancy Pelosi, who represents San Francisco, a major center of the Chinese-American community since some of the earliest immigrants arrived in the 1800s.

"Though this legislation cannot erase the deeds of the past, it reiterates our commitment to equal rights for all Americans, regardless of race, now and in the future," Pelosi added.

When the bill voicing regret for the 1882 Act passed in the Senate, it was made clear that legislation would not open the way for compensation claims from Chinese-American families affected by the act.

Some 14.7 million people, 4.8 percent of the total US population, self-identified as Asian on the 2010 Census.

Loading...

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • Sy moves up, Villar enters Forbes list of billionaires
    Sy moves up, Villar enters Forbes list of billionaires

    Eleven Filipinos are included in Forbes’ 2015 list of richest people in the world. Filipino-Chinese tycoon Henry Sy Sr. continues to be the wealthiest man in the Philippines. The 90-year-old SM supermalls, banking and property tycoon ranked 73rd among the world’s richest with an increased net worth of $14.2 billion from $11.4 billion last year. Sy’s net worth was attributed to the continued growth of his SM Investments Corp. and his more recent venture, the City of Dreams Manila resort and …

  • Jolo apologizes to Bong in visit
    Jolo apologizes to Bong in visit

    Cavite Vice Gov. Jolo Revilla wept and embraced his father as he apologized for the “accidental” shooting incident in their Ayala Alabang residence, the family’s spokesman said yesterday. Lawyer Raymund Fortun came out of the private room at the Asian Hospital and Medical Center in Muntinlupa City to speak to reporters, who were barred from entering the hospital compound during the visit of Sen. Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. …

  • Australian drug smugglers being taken to Indonesian island for execution - media
    Australian drug smugglers being taken to Indonesian island for execution - media

    By Jane Wardell and Beawiharta SYDNEY/DENPASAR, Indonesia (Reuters) - Two convicted Australian drug smugglers were removed from a prison in Bali on Wednesday to be taken to an Indonesian island where they will be shot by firing squad, Australian media reported. The planned executions of Myuran Sukumaran, 33, and Andrew Chan, 31, have ratcheted up diplomatic tensions amid repeated pleas of mercy for the pair from Australia and thrown a spotlight on Indonesia's increasing use of the death …

  • US billionaire says WWII Japanese ship found in Philippines
    US billionaire says WWII Japanese ship found in Philippines

    Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen said Wednesday he had found one of Japan's biggest and most famous battleships on a Philippine seabed, some 70 years after American forces sank it during World War II. Excited historians likened the discovery, if verified, to finding the Titanic, as they hailed the American billionaire for his high-tech mission that apparently succeeded after so many failed search attempts by others. Allen posted photos and video online of parts of what he said was the …

  • Another source of SAF execution video identified
    Another source of SAF execution video identified

    The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) is still tracing the source of the video showing one of the wounded police commandos being finished off by Muslim rebels during the encounter in Mamasapano, Maguindanao last Jan. 25. A source from the Department of Justice (DOJ) said they have identified two persons who first uploaded the video that went viral over social networking sites. The supposed source of the video was elusive and claimed that somebody just placed it on an external drive. The …

  • Pacquiao big hit so far in Vegas sports books vs Mayweather

    LAS VEGAS (AP) — Manny Pacquiao has always believed he can do what 47 other fighters before him have failed to do — beat Floyd Mayweather Jr. in the ring. …

  • World's oldest person wonders about secret to longevity too
    World's oldest person wonders about secret to longevity too

    TOKYO (AP) — The world's oldest person says 117 years doesn't seem like such a long time. …

  • A trying Heat season now hitting the stretch run
    A trying Heat season now hitting the stretch run

    MIAMI (AP) — To say the Miami Heat have been presented with a new problem every day since last season ended, that would be an exaggeration. …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options