House Apologizes for 1882 Anti-Chinese Law

Resolution expressing regret passes unanimously
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 20, 2012 3:29 AM CDT
Updated Jun 20, 2012 5:00 AM CDT
An 1882 political cartoon criticizing the new law.   (Wikipedia)
camera-icon View 1 more image

(Newser) – The House has issued a rare apology for an anti-Chinese law it passed 130 years ago. The Chinese Exclusionary Act of 1882 banned immigration from China, and barred existing Chinese residents—who numbered close to 100,000 at the time—from citizenship and voting. The act remained in place until 1943. The resolution, which expressed regret for the law, passed the House unanimously on Monday, reports CNN. A similar resolution—which made it clear that the apology would not open the door to compensation claims—was passed by the Senate last year.

Democratic Rep. Judy Chu, the resolution's sponsor, described how her grandfather was denied citizenship and lived under the threat of deportation for decades. "It is for my grandfather and for all Chinese-Americans that we must pass this resolution, for those who were told for six decades by the US government that the land of the free wasn't open to them," she said on the House floor. "We must finally and formally acknowledge these ugly laws that were incompatible with America's founding principles." A recent Pew Research Center report found that Asians are now the largest group of new US immigrants.

My Take on This Story