Apologies, Immigration, Representative Mike Honda, And The Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Does it really get any better than this?


No it does not.

On Sunday, a day after the 69th anniversary of the executive order incarcerating Japanese-Americans, Rep. Mike Honda called on Americans to end the blaming of immigrants and called for an official U.S. apology for the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882.

Honda, D-San Jose, spoke to about 200 people gathered for the "Day of Remembrance" that solemnly commemorated federal Executive Order 9066, issued Feb. 19, 1942. It authorized the imprisonment of 120,000 Japanese and Japanese-Americans during World War II in internment camps.

Sounding like the high-school teacher he once was, Honda tied together events from American history. Years of scapegoating foreigners for economic woes, he said, led in 1882 to the Chinese Exclusion Act. "1882 was the culmination of things that happened before," he said.

He called for an official U.S. apology for the act, which suspended Chinese immigration, made Chinese living here permanent aliens ineligible for citizenship, and later was extended to other Asians and to bar aliens from owning property.

He and other speakers at the forum at the San Jose Buddhist Church Betsuin noted the similarities between the treatment of Japanese-Americans 70 years ago and today's anti-immigrant sentiments as well as the post-Sept. 11, 2001, reaction against Muslims, Middle Easterners and South Asians in the United States.
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