A Legal History of Chinese-Americans
REPORTS and RESOLUTIONS
Senate Report 689, submitted to Congress February 1877 [A Legal History of Asian American (LHA), 1790-1990, by Hyung-chan Kim, at 58]. The report followed hearings held in San Francisco in which some 130 witnesses testified both for and against Chinese immigration. It recommended that the president negotiate with China to modify existing treaties and that Congress pass laws to restrict Asian immigration to the U.S. [LHA at 59].(ES)
- Memorial to Congress, December 8, 1877. The Chinese Six Companies composed this 53 page "Memorial" to the U.S. Congress in response to recommendations made in Senate Report 689. Chinese community leaders argued that they had been denied the opportunity to present their views on the question of Chinese immigration during hearings held by a committee of the State of California's Senate [LHA at 59]. The "Memorial" urged Congress to take action on behalf of Chinese in the U.S. "in justice and fairness" [LHA at 59] (ES).
- U.S. House passes resolution apologizing for Chinese Exclusion Act
U.S. House of Representatives on Monday June 18 unanimously passed a resolution apologizing for discriminating laws targeting Chinese immigrants at the turn of the 20th century.
Congressional leaders hailed the approval of the resolution as a "historic" moment for the Chinese American community.
In a voice vote, the House passed H. Res. 683, a bipartisan resolution that formally expresses regret for the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 and other legislation that discriminated against people of Chinese origin in the United States.
This is the fourth resolution of regret passed by both houses of the U.S. Congress in the past 25 years. It was approved in the Senate last October.
"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," said Congresswoman Judy Chu, the only member of Congress who is of Chinese descent and who introduced the bill. "I feel so gratified... and I feel honored to have been a part of this great moment in history."
The Chinese Exclusion Act, approved in 1882 in Congress and lasted for 60 years, was the first and the only federal law in U.S. history that excluded a single group of people from immigration on no basis other than their race. It explicitly banned Chinese workers from immigration and existing residents from naturalization and voting. (TCL)
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