"To Chinese Americans, their descendants, and all whose lives were affected by the Chinese Exclusion Act."
A soap advertisement from the 1880s, sub-titled 'The Chinese Must Go'
In New York, a group of state lawmakers have sent a letter to President Barack Obama asking him to issue a government apology for the passage and enforcement of the Chinese Exclusion Act, which specifically targeted and barred Chinese immigrants from entering or becoming citizens of the United States.
Signed into federal law by President Chester A. Arthur in 1882, and fueled by widespread anti-Chinese sentiment, the Chinese Exclusion Act was one of the most significant restrictions on free immigration in U.S. history, prohibiting all immigration of Chinese laborers. It was the first law implemented to prevent a specific ethnic group from immigrating to the United States, and lasted for over sixty years.
The letter, written by state Assemblyman Ron Kim and signed by twenty other state legislators, calls for the President to issue an official apology on behalf of the United States Government "to Chinese Americans, their descendants, and all whose lives were affected by the Chinese Exclusion Act."