WASHINGTON — Dec. 17 marked the 70th anniversary of the passage of the Magnuson Act of 1943, which repealed the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882. In June 2012, Rep. Judy Chu (D-San Gabriel), chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC), introduced H.Res. 683, a resolution formally apologizing for the Chinese exclusion laws.
The resolution passed the House of Representative unanimously on June 18, 2012. Chu released the following statement:
“On the 70th anniversary of the repeal of the Chinese Exclusion Act, I am encouraged to see how far our nation has come. In 1882, the Chinese Exclusion Act singled out an ethnic group for immigration exclusion, prohibited legal Chinese immigrants from becoming naturalized citizens, and relegated them to second-class status. My own grandfather, who was in the United States starting in 1904, was subjected to this treatment for over 30 years.
“The repeal of the Chinese Exclusion Act in 1943 was an important first step towards justice and equality for Chinese Americans in our immigration laws. Since then, the Chinese American community has flourished, creating jobs through small businesses, contributing to our political process and strengthening the diversity of our society.
“It was a proud moment for our community when members of Congress voted for my Resolution of Regret for the Chinese Exclusion Act. Xenophobia has no place in our public discourse, and beyond apologizing, we must all work to ensure our policies are never dictated by it again.”