Fri, June 15, 2012
China > China & World

US to voice regret for Chinese exclusion: lawmaker

2012-06-15 01:12:43 GMT2012-06-15 09:12:43(Beijing Time)

The United States will officially voice regret for shutting its doors to Chinese immigrants more than a century ago, an Asian American lawmaker said Thursday after negotiations in Congress.

Representative Judy Chu, a Democrat who heads the Asian American caucus in Congress, said she had reached an agreement with the rival Republican Party to bring the bill to a vote on Monday in the House of Representatives.

The law -- already approved by the Democratic-led Senate in October -- would voice regret for the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, which banned further immigration by Chinese workers and their naturalization as US citizens.

"With this resolution, the House will finally acknowledge the Chinese Exclusion laws' injustice and express regret for the lives it destroyed. And together we will make sure that the prejudice that stained our nation is never repeated," Chu said in a statement.

Some activists had initially called for the word "apology." The Senate bill also said that it "deeply regrets" the Chinese Exclusion Act and made clear that the legislation will not open the way for claims for compensation.

Census figures show that more than 100,000 ethnic Chinese were living in the United States at the end of the 19th century. Many had been recruited to build the transcontinental railroad, but faced racism from white workers.

Congress repealed the Chinese Exclusion Act in 1943 during World War II after Japan highlighted the law in propaganda questioning China's alliance with the United States.

But activists say that Congress never voiced regret for the restrictions, which marked the first time that the United States explicitly rejected an immigrant group on the basis of their origin.

Asian Americans form a fast-growing group in the United States.

Some 14.7 million people, or 4.8 percent of the total US population, identified themselves as Asian alone in the 2010 Census. Another 2.6 million said they were Asian in combination with another race group, most commonly white.



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