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Local leaders commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Chinese Exclusion Act repeal

Rep. Judy Chu, Mike Eng, San Gabriel City Council members, representatives from Assemblyman Ed Chau's office and other local leaders commemorate the 75th anniversary of the end of the Chinese Exclusion Act. Photo by Phoenix Tso.


Alhambra , CA United States

Local leaders commemorated the 75th anniversary of the repeal of the Chinese Exclusion Act in a press conference at the Sheraton Hotel in San Gabriel on Monday morning.

The Magnuson Act was signed into law on Dec. 17, 1943, repealing a law from 1882 that prevented Chinese citizens from immigrating to the United States. The Chinese Exclusion Act remains the only law that blocked the immigration of a specific national group.

Various local leaders converged on the San Gabriel Sheraton to observe this milestone, including San Gabriel City Council members Chen Ho Liao, Denise Menchaca and Jason Pu, Monterey Park Mayor Peter Chan, Alhambra Mayor Jeff Maloney and U.S. Rep. Judy Chu, who represents California’s 27th Congressional District. The event was organized by the Chinese American Citizens Alliance and by the Los Angeles chapter of OCA – Asian Pacific American advocates.

Rep. Chu connected the historic experience of Chinese Americans to political threats to various immigrant groups today, who had just visited migrant children who had been detained at the U.S. border in Texas.

“It’s just this onslaught of this kind of xenophobic that [President Trump] has, whether it’s the migrants coming from the southern border or it’s the Muslim ban or painting all Chinese as spies from China, or whether it’s wanting to deport all Vietnamese that came here in the early days,” she said.

Daisy Ma, the district director for state Assemblymember Ed Chau, read from a prepared statement on Chau’s behalf about the importance of remembering the ramifications of the Chinese Exclusion Act. Chau’s statement also underscored the importance of remembering the accomplishments of the Chinese-American community, including their role and in shaping Chinatown enclaves like the ones in the San Gabriel Valley.

“Our stories are America’s stories, and we must not forget them, and we must pass them on to future generations,” Ma said. This is why Chau introduced AB 2864, which requires the state of California to include the Chinese Exclusion Act and the contributions of Chinese Americans to the transcontinental railroad in the next revision of California’s history and social science curriculum. The bill was signed into law in 2016.

The Chinese American Citizens Alliance has also been working to garner support for the Chinese-American World War II Veteran Congressional Gold Medal Act. The resolution was introduced in Congress last year and if passed, would finally honor every Chinese American who fought in World War II with a Congressional Gold Medal.

Updated Tuesday, Dec. 18, 2018 at 5:32 p.m.

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