PRESS RELEASE: Committee of 100 Urges Immigration Policy Consistent with American Values

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Contact: Holly Chang, Executive Director
media@committee100.org or 212-371-6565

 

 

Committee of 100 Urges Immigration Policy Consistent with American Values

  
(New York, NY, January 31, 2017) — As our nation considers how to define its identity through control of our borders, the Committee of 100 affirms the great ideals of this nation of immigrants. As an organization consisting of Chinese Americans, from those who arrived only recently to those whose families came more than a century ago, we celebrate the constant flow of immigration even as we understand the painful history that affected our ancestors. Chinese Americans in particular have had the experience of exclusion and expulsion, before achieving acceptance and equality. Our unique past offers particular insights for our shared future. We give pause when restrictive policies are not only proposed but implemented. These measures are judged to be ill-conceived in the fullness of time.

America’s immigrant tradition is not a partisan issue. Many of every political persuasion are themselves proud to be descended from those who came for freedom and liberty. Every nation draws a line between those who are citizens and those who are not. The United States of America, however, does not draw lines based on race or religion. It has extended citizenship over time, regardless of skin color or faith. It has constantly improved itself by doing so. Chinese Americans know this story only too well. We owe it to ourselves to remember the progress we have made.

In 1882, Congress passed the Chinese Exclusion Act. It did so following agitation in California and throughout the country that portrayed Chinese in racial and ethnic terms as “obnoxious” and undesirable. Chinese in America were attacked, including physically, for every vice. They also were attacked for their virtues, said to work so hard as to constitute “unfair competition.” In essence, they were a “yellow peril”, threatening the American way of life. They were turned away and barred from entry.

The Chinese Exclusion Act marked the first time the federal government enacted a ban on a specific community based on their identity. It was later expanded to cover an “Asiatic Barred Zone.” There were only a few exceptions. Even those already here, who had arrived legally, were forbidden from naturalization. They were deemed not to be “free white persons”.

Yet over time, thanks in part to the contributions of the few Chinese immigrants there were, and the alliance between China and the United States, these racial barriers were repealed. In 2011 and 2012, the United States Senate and House of Representatives, respectively, passed formal statements of regret for their earlier actions.

They realized that Chinese Americans are patriots. They have succeeded and integrated themselves. In every field of achievement, from science and technology to arts and athletics to business and politics, Chinese Americans are to be found, loyal to this nation, adding to its diversity, and contributing to its distinction. Chinese Americans, like other Americans proud of their ethnic heritage, guarantee America’s paramount position leading and innovating for the world.

Because of that history, we always remember the Chinese Exclusion Act as specific communities are deemed unwelcome. We understand the need to protect national security and to engage in the ongoing debate about immigration reform. As the nation considers how to define itself, the Committee of 100 urges our leaders to make good on our profound experiment in self-governance that continues to inspire peoples the world over. The best sign of our strength is that others wish to join us. Let us demonstrate that we are the land of the free, and the home of the brave.


The Committee of 100 is a non-partisan leadership organization of prominent Chinese Americans in business, government, academia, entertainment, and the arts. For over 25 years, the Committee has been committed to a dual mission of promoting the full participation and inclusion of Chinese Americans in all fields of American life, and encouraging constructive relations between the peoples of the United States and Greater China. www.committee100.org.

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Contact: Holly Chang 张虹琳, Executive Director 执行总监
media@committee100.org or 212-371-6565

百人会敦促施行符合美国价值观的移民政策

(纽约,2017年1月31日)当我们的国家考虑如何通过边境控制来界定其国家身份之际,百人会坚持这个移民国家的伟大理想。作为一个由美籍华人组成的组织,我们的成员有的刚来不久,也有的来自一个多世纪前就搬迁至此的家庭。我们赞许移民的不断涌入,尽管我们对先辈曾遭遇的痛苦历史了然于心。在被接纳和获得平等权利之前,美籍华人有特别的被排斥和驱逐的经历。我们独特的过去为我们共同的未来提供了特别的领悟。限制性的移民政策被提出并且被实施时,我们深感担忧。时间将判定这些举措考虑欠妥

美国的移民传统并非党派问题。许多不同政治理念的人都以身为来此寻求自由和解放的先人的后裔而自豪。每个国家都在公民和非公民之间划定界线。然而,美利坚合众国并不以种族或宗教作此分界。无论肤色或信仰,移民可随着时间的推移而获得公民身份,美国由此得以持续进步。美籍华人对这个故事再清楚不过。我们理应铭记我们取得的进展。

1882年,美国国会通过了《排华法案》。这一法案源自加利福尼亚州及全美各地的煽动,华人被描绘为”令人生厌”和不受欢迎的人种和族群。在美华人因为每一个瑕疵而遭到打击,包括身体攻击。他们甚至因为他们的美德受到攻击,被认为他们太过努力工作而构成“不公平竞争”。本质上,他们被视为“黄祸”,威胁到美国生活方式。他们被拒之门外,遭禁止入境。

《排华法案》标志着美国联邦政府第一次根据其身份而对某一特定社区的施加禁令。法案随后扩展为涵盖所谓的“亚洲禁区”,仅有少数亚洲国家不在其中。即使那些已在美国境内,那些合法进入的人,也被禁止归化。他们被认为不是“自由白人”。

然而,随着时间的推移,一定程度上得益于少数华裔移民的贡献和中美之间联盟关系的建立,这些种族障碍终被废除。 2011年和2012年,美国联邦参议院众议院分别对其历史上的行为正式致歉。

他们意识到美籍华人是爱国者。他们获得成功,并且融入社会。从科学和技术,到艺术和体育,到商业和政治,每个领域都能看到美籍华人的成就。他们忠诚于这个国家,增加其多样性,并为它的卓越添色。美籍华人和其他美国人一样,为他们的民族遗产而感到自豪,为美国确立其在全世界世界领先和创新的最高地位。

因为这段历史,当特定社区被视作不受欢迎时,我们总是记起《排华法案》。 我们理解保护国家安全、参与移民改革辩论的需要。当国家考虑如何界定自己时,百人会敦促我们的领导人善用我们深厚的自治经验,继续激励世界各地的人民。 我们力量的最好的标志就是其他人希望加入我们。让我们来证明,这里是自由的国土,是勇者的家乡。

 


百人会是一个由美国华人精英组成的国际性、非党派团体,成员来自商界、政界、学术、和文艺界。成立二十五年来,百人会一直致力于其两大使命,推动美国华人在美国社会各领域的全面参与,促进美国与大中华地区人民之间的建设性关系。更多信息:Committee100.org.

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