On October 6, the U.S. Senate unanimously passed a resolution apologizing to Chinese immigrants for past discrimination, including the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, which blocked immigration by Chinese and was one of the most severe restrictions on immigration in U.S. history. From the Los Angeles Times blog:
The resolution passed Thursday night, by unanimous consent, “cannot undo the hurt caused by past discrimination against Chinese immigrants, but it is important that we acknowledge the wrongs that were committed many years ago,” said Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.), the lead sponsor.
Judy Chu A similar resolution, sponsored by Rep. Judy Chu (D-El Monte), the first Chinese American woman elected to Congress, is pending in the House. It is backed by members of both parties.
For Chu, the effort to get Congress to acknowledge the discrimination is personal; her grandfather faced the hostile laws.
“He decided to make something of his life anyway. He opened up a small Chinese restaurant in Watts, and worked day and night and he was finally able to make ends meet,” Chu said Friday. “The thousands of Chinese Americans around this country with similar family histories will celebrate the passage of the Senate resolution.”
The Chinese Exclusion Act effectively halted Chinese immigration for a decade and denied U.S. citizenship to Chinese immigrants in the country. The law was repealed in 1943 after China became a U.S. ally in World War II.