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House Passes Rep. Judy Chu’s Resolution of Regret for the Chinese Exclusion Act

June 19, 2012
Press Release

Washington, DC – Today, the House of Representatives unanimously passed a bipartisan resolution introduced by Congresswoman Judy Chu (CA-32), that formally expresses the regret of the House of Representatives for the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 and other legislation that discriminated against people of Chinese origin in the United States.  Congresswoman Chu’s bill, H. Res 683, is only the fourth resolution of regret in the past 25 years to be passed by both houses of the U.S. Congress.  Following this historic vote, Rep. Chu released the following statement:

“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.  The Chinese Exclusion Act enshrined injustice into our legal code – it stopped the Chinese, and the Chinese alone, from immigrating, from ever becoming naturalized citizens and ever having the right to vote.  The last generation of people personally affected by these laws is leaving us, and finally Congress has expressed the sincere regret that Chinese Americans deserve and reaffirmed our commitment to the civil rights of all people.  This is only the fourth time that Congress has passed such a resolution of regret in the last 25 years. This makes today a rare moment in history for the Chinese American Community.”

Background:  Congresswoman Judy Chu authored H. Res. 683 to express the regret of the House of Representatives for passing the Chinese Exclusion Act in 1882.  That law prevented Chinese citizens from becoming naturalized American citizens, voting, or immigrating to the United States.  It lasted for 60 years until 1943, scarring the Chinese American community for generations. This was the first and only federal law in U.S. history that excluded a single group of people from immigration on no basis other than their race, splitting apart families permanently.