State Assembly Recognizes 76th Anniversary of the Repeal of the Chinese Exclusion Act; Calls on Trump to Revoke Anti-Immigrant Actions

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

State Assembly Recognizes 76th Anniversary of the Repeal of the Chinese Exclusion Act;  Calls on Trump to Revoke Anti-Immigrant Actions

Congress repealed the Chinese Exclusion Act on December 17, 1943. Today, the California State Assembly approved AJR 22, a resolution by Assemblymember Phil Ting (D-San Francisco) that would recognize the 76th anniversary of this historic moment, a significant point in the immigrant struggle for fairness and equality in America. The resolution also calls on President Trump to revoke his anti-immigrant orders and actions.

“Asian Americans see echoes of the past in the President’s rhetoric and policies. AJR 22 is a necessary reminder that progress is fragile, and that California must stand up against an administration determined to turn back the clock,” said Ting.

The resolution’s passage is timely, given the latest example of anti-immigrant policies at the federal level. Beginning October 15, a revision to the “public charge” rule is set to take effect, which makes it more difficult for immigrants to obtain a green card if they benefit from government programs, such as food, housing and medical assistance. Ting attended a rally in Oakland last week, denouncing the change. It joins a long list of actions by the Trump Administration directed against groups based on race, ethnicity, religious beliefs and immigration status, repeating mistakes of the past.

The Chinese Exclusion Act was enacted in 1882 and stood for more than sixty years before its repeal. It was the United States’ first law prohibiting immigration based solely on ethnicity because “the coming of Chinese laborers endangers the good order of certain localities.” For those who were already in America, the act also denied a pathway to citizenship, bearing striking similarities to federal actions today.

AJR 22 reaffirms that California welcomes all immigrants and refugees and now heads to the state Senate for consideration. The resolution’s co-authors include the Asian Pacific Islander Legislative Caucus.

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