With Donald Trump’s revised travel ban on people from six Muslim-majority countries locked in legal scrutiny, Americans have been reflecting on the first time a specific ethnic group was banned from immigrating to the US.
The Chinese Exclusion Act, which prohibited immigration of Chinese laborers, turned 135 on Saturday. Chinese community activists gathered in San Francisco to ensure that the notorious law is not forgotten.
The Rally for Inclusion attracted representatives from 45 groups, including educators, students, civil rights leaders, as well as Muslim organizations, Jewish organizations, Vietnamese and Hispanic groups.
Vincent Pan, executive director of Chinese for Affirmative Action, stressed the parallels between the past and what is happening now.
"The same fear and ignorance and bigotry that fueled the Chinese Exclusion Act is now resurfacing as strong as ever in policies that are targeting Muslims and undocumented immigrants… so I think that the Exclusion Act is relevant today,” said Pan.
Cynthia Choi, also of Chinese for Affirmative Action, said, "This is important for the Chinese-American and the broader Asian-American community, to stand up for the new targets of this new form of exclusion, for us to say it was wrong 135 years ago and it's wrong today."