[Congressional Record Volume 158, Number 92 (Monday, June 18, 2012)]
[Pages H3715-H3719]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]

                              {time}  1630
                          IN THE UNITED STATES

  Mr. SMITH of Texas. Mr. Speaker, I move to suspend the rules and 
agree to the resolution (H. Res. 683) expressing the regret of the 
House of Representatives for the passage of laws that adversely 
affected the Chinese in the United States, including the Chinese 
Exclusion Act.
  The Clerk read the title of the resolution.
  The text of the resolution is as follows:

                              H. Res. 683

       Whereas many Chinese came to the United States in the 19th 
     and 20th centuries, as did people from other countries, in 
     search of the opportunity to create a better life;
       Whereas the United States ratified the Burlingame Treaty on 
     October 19, 1868, which permitted the free movement of the 
     Chinese people to, from, and within the United States and 
     made China a ``most favored nation'';
       Whereas in 1878, the House of Representatives passed a 
     resolution requesting that President Rutherford B. Hayes 
     renegotiate the Burlingame Treaty so Congress could limit 
     Chinese immigration to the United States;
       Whereas, on February 22, 1879, the House of Representatives 
     passed the Fifteen Passenger Bill, which only permitted 15 
     Chinese passengers on any ship coming to the United States;
       Whereas, on March 1, 1879, President Hayes vetoed the 
     Fifteen Passenger Bill as being incompatible with the 
     Burlingame Treaty;
       Whereas, on May 9, 1881, the United States ratified the 
     Angell Treaty, which allowed the United States to suspend, 
     but not prohibit, immigration of Chinese laborers, declared 
     that ``Chinese laborers who are now in the United States 
     shall be allowed to go and come of their own free will,'' and 

[[Page H3716]]

     that Chinese persons possessed ``all the rights, privileges, 
     immunities, and exemptions which are accorded to the citizens 
     and subjects of the most favored nation'';
       Whereas the House of Representatives passed legislation 
     that adversely affected Chinese persons in the United States 
     and limited their civil rights, including--
       (1) on March 23, 1882, the first Chinese Exclusion bill, 
     which excluded for 20 years skilled and unskilled Chinese 
     laborers and expressly denied Chinese persons alone the right 
     to be naturalized as American citizens, and which was opposed 
     by President Chester A. Arthur as incompatible with the terms 
     and spirit of the Angell Treaty;
       (2) on April 17, 1882, intending to address President 
     Arthur's concerns, the House passed a new Chinese Exclusion 
     bill, which prohibited Chinese workers from entering the 
     United States for 10 years instead of 20, required certain 
     Chinese laborers already legally present in the United States 
     who later wished to reenter the United States to obtain 
     ``certificates of return,'' and prohibited courts from 
     naturalizing Chinese individuals;
       (3) on May 3, 1884, an expansion of the Chinese Exclusion 
     Act, which applied it to all persons of Chinese descent, 
     ``whether subjects of China or any other foreign power'';
       (4) on September 3, 1888, the Scott Act, which prohibited 
     legal Chinese laborers from reentering the United States and 
     cancelled all previously issued ``certificates of return,'' 
     and which was later determined by the Supreme Court to have 
     abrogated the Angell Treaty; and
       (5) on April 4, 1892, the Geary Act, which reauthorized the 
     Chinese Exclusion Act for another ten years, denied Chinese 
     immigrants the right to be released on bail upon application 
     for a writ of habeas corpus, and contrary to customary legal 
     standards regarding the presumption of innocence, authorized 
     the deportation of Chinese persons who could not produce a 
     certificate of residence unless they could establish 
     residence through the testimony of ``at least one credible 
     white witness'';

       Whereas in the 1894 Gresham-Yang Treaty, the Chinese 
     government consented to a prohibition of Chinese immigration 
     and the enforcement of the Geary Act in exchange for 
     readmission to the United States of Chinese persons who were 
     United States residents;
       Whereas in 1898, the United States annexed Hawaii, took 
     control of the Philippines, and excluded only the residents 
     of Chinese ancestry of these territories from entering the 
     United States mainland;
       Whereas, on April 29, 1902, as the Geary Act was expiring, 
     Congress indefinitely extended all laws regulating and 
     restricting Chinese immigration and residence, to the extent 
     consistent with Treaty commitments;
       Whereas in 1904, after the Chinese government withdrew from 
     the Gresham-Yang Treaty, Congress permanently extended, 
     ``without modification, limitation, or condition,'' the 
     prohibition on Chinese naturalization and immigration;
       Whereas these Federal statutes enshrined in law the 
     exclusion of the Chinese from the democratic process and the 
     promise of American freedom;
       Whereas in an attempt to undermine the American-Chinese 
     alliance during World War II, enemy forces used the Chinese 
     exclusion legislation passed in Congress as evidence of anti-
     Chinese attitudes in the United States;
       Whereas in 1943, in furtherance of American war objectives, 
     at the urging of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Congress 
     repealed previously enacted legislation and permitted Chinese 
     persons to become United States citizens;
       Whereas Chinese-Americans continue to play a significant 
     role in the success of the United States; and
       Whereas the United States was founded on the principle that 
     all persons are created equal: Now, therefore, be it


       That the House of Representatives regrets the passage of 
     legislation that adversely affected people of Chinese origin 
     in the United States because of their ethnicity.


       Nothing in this resolution may be construed or relied on to 
     authorize or support any claim, including but not limited to 
     constitutionally based claims, claims for monetary 
     compensation or claims for equitable relief against the 
     United States or any other party, or serve as a settlement of 
     any claim against the United States.

  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Pursuant to the rule, the gentleman from 
Texas (Mr. Smith) and the gentlewoman from California (Ms. Chu) each 
will control 20 minutes.
  The Chair recognizes the gentleman from Texas.

                             General Leave

  Mr. SMITH of Texas. Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous consent that all 
Members may have 5 legislative days within which to revise and extend 
their remarks and include extraneous materials on House Resolution 683 
currently under consideration.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Is there objection to the request of the 
gentleman from Texas?
  There was no objection.
  Mr. SMITH of Texas. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may 
  Mr. Speaker, I first want to thank the gentlewoman from California 
(Ms. Chu) for introducing H. Res. 683, expressing the regret of the 
House of Representatives for the passage of laws that adversely 
affected the Chinese in the United States, including the Chinese 
Exclusion Act.
  I know, through conversations with several of my colleagues, 
including the ranking member of the Foreign Relations Committee, Mr. 
Berman, that this is an important resolution for them and their 
  The resolution concerns laws passed by the House of Representatives 
that restricted the civil rights of certain individuals in the United 
States based solely on the ethnicity of those individuals. 
Specifically, during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Congress 
passed, and Presidents signed, laws that restricted the rights of 
people of Chinese ethnicity.
  For instance, in March 1882, the House of Representatives passed the 
initial Chinese Exclusion Act that denied Chinese people the right to 
be naturalized as American citizens. And in April 1892, the House of 
Representatives passed the Geary Act, which reauthorized the Chinese 
Exclusion Act for 10 years and denied Chinese immigrants the right to 
be released on bail upon application for a writ of habeas corpus.
  Laws that deny certain civil rights to individuals legally in the 
United States are inconsistent with the values on which this country 
was founded. I thank the gentlewoman from California for working with 
me to refine the text of this resolution.
  I reserve the balance of my time.
  Ms. CHU. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself as much time as I may consume.
  Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of House Resolution 683. First, I want 
to thank Chairman Lamar Smith and Subcommittee Chair Trent Franks of 
the Judiciary Committee for all their work on this resolution. I 
appreciate it so much.
  We have come together across party lines to show that no matter what 
side of the aisle we sit on, Congress can make amends for the past, no 
matter how long ago those violations occurred. It is because we have 
worked together in a bipartisan way that we will make history today. 
Today, for the first time in 130 years, the House of Representatives 
will vote on a bill that expresses regret for the Chinese Exclusion Act 
of 1882, one of the most discriminatory acts in American history.
  Over a century ago, the Chinese came here in search of a better life. 
During the California Gold Rush, the Chinese came to the United States 
to make something of themselves. Their blood, sweat, and tears built 
the first transcontinental railroad, connecting the people of our 
Nation. They opened our mines, constructed the levees, and became the 
backbone of farm production. Their efforts helped build America.
  But as the economy soured in the 1870s, the Chinese became 
scapegoats. They were called racial slurs, were spat upon in the 
streets, and even brutally murdered. The harsh conditions they faced 
were evident in the Halls of Congress.
  By the time 1882 came around, Members of Congress were competing with 
each other to get the most discriminatory law passed and routinely made 
speeches on the House floor against the so-called ``Mongolian horde.'' 
Representative Albert Shelby Willis from Kentucky fought particularly 
hard for a Chinese Exclusion Act. In his floor speech, he said the 
Chinese were an invading race. He called them aliens with sordid and 
unrepublican habits. He declared that the Pacific States had been 
cursed with the evils of Chinese immigration and that they disturbed 
the peace and order of society.

                              {time}  1640

  The official House committee report accompanying the bill claimed 
that the Chinese ``retain their distinctive peculiarities and 
characteristics, refusing to assimilate themselves to our institutions 
and remaining a separate and distinct class, entrenched behind 
immovable prejudices; that their ignorance or disregard of sanitary 
laws, as evidenced in their habits of life, breeds disease, pestilence 
and death.''
  So on April 17, 1882, under a simple suspension of the rules, the 

[[Page H3717]]

passed the Chinese Exclusion Act. It prevented them from becoming 
naturalized citizens. It prevented them from ever having the right to 
vote. It also prevented the Chinese--and the Chinese alone--from 
  But this was only the beginning.
  As the years passed, the House built upon this act, increasing the 
discriminatory restrictions on the Chinese. Two years later, the House 
made clear that any ethnically Chinese laborer, even if he were not 
from China but from somewhere like Hong Kong or the Philippines, was 
banned from U.S. shores.
  Four years later, the House passed the Scott Act. This bill 
prohibited all Chinese laborers from reentering the United States, if 
they ever left, even if they were legal residents in the U.S. and even 
if they had the certificates of return that should have guaranteed 
their right of return. This prevented approximately 20,000 legal U.S. 
residents who had gone abroad, including 600 on ships who were 
literally en route back to the United States, from returning to their 
families or their homes. With little floor debate, the Scott Act passed 
the House unanimously.
  In 1892, when the Chinese Exclusion Act was set to expire, the House 
extended it for another decade, but it increased restrictions further. 
It made the Chinese the only residents who could not receive bail after 
applying for a writ of habeas corpus, that being to protest an unjust 
imprisonment. It made them the only people in America who had to carry 
papers, or certificates of residence, with them at all times. If they 
couldn't produce the proper documents, authorities threw them into 
prison or out of the country regardless of whether they were U.S. 
citizens or not. Legally, the only means by which this could be stopped 
is if a white person testified on their behalf.
  In 1898, the U.S. annexed Hawaii and the Philippines, making them 
U.S. Territories; and while other residents of the territories could 
come and go between their homes and the U.S., who did the House make 
sure to exclude? Only the Chinese.
  Then, in 1904, the House made the Chinese Exclusion Act permanent. 
This act lasted for 60 long years. It was not until 1943 that this law 
was repealed, but it was only because of World War II, when the United 
States needed to maintain a critical military alliance with China. U.S. 
enemies were pointing to the Chinese Exclusion Act as proof that the 
U.S. was anti-Chinese, and the U.S. had to erase that perception. 
However, Congress made no formal acknowledgment that these laws were 
wrong. The Chinese Exclusion Act was the first and only Federal law in 
our history that excluded a single group of people from immigration on 
no basis other than its race, and the effects of this act produced deep 
scars on the Chinese American community.
  Families were split apart permanently without the ability to 
naturalize as citizens and to vote. The community was disenfranchised. 
Because immigration had been so severely restricted, few women could 
come, and the ratio of males to females was as high as 20 1. Many 
Chinese American males could not have families and were forced to die 
completely alone. If they did try to marry, they were forced to go 
abroad, and families were separated.
  The family of Jean Quan, mayor of Oakland, had been here legally 
since 1880. Her father went abroad to marry a woman in China in 1920, 
but had to leave her behind along with her children. When the Chinese 
Exclusion Act was repealed over 25 years later, his wife was finally 
able to come and have Jean in the United States, but the siblings did 
not know each other for decades.
  The Chinese, like my grandfather, did not have the legal right to 
become naturalized citizens. He had been here legally since 1904, but 
unlike non-Chinese immigrants, he was forced to register and carry a 
certificate of residence at all times for almost 40 years or else be 
deported. He could only be saved if a white person vouched for him. 
These laws are why we ask for this expression of regret.
  Last October, the U.S. Senate did its part to right history by 
passing its own resolution of regret for these hateful laws. It did so 
unanimously with bipartisan support. Today, the House should also issue 
its expression of regret. It is for my grandfather and for all Chinese 
Americans that we must pass this resolution, for those who were told 
for six decades by the U.S. Government that the land of the free wasn't 
open to them. We must finally and formally acknowledge these ugly laws 
that were incompatible with America's founding principles.
  We must express the sincere regret that Chinese Americans deserve. By 
doing so, we will acknowledge that discrimination has no place in our 
society, and we will reaffirm our strong commitment to preserving the 
civil rights and constitutional protections for all people of every 
color, ever race, and from every background.
  I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. SMITH of Texas. Mr. Speaker, we have no other speakers on this 
side, so I reserve the balance of my time.
  Ms. CHU. I yield 3 minutes to the gentleman from California, 
Representative Mike Honda.
  Mr. HONDA. I, too, would like to add my thanks to the leadership, 
specifically to Chairman Lamar Smith.
  Mr. Speaker, I rise today in support of H. Res. 683, a resolution 
expressing the regret of the House of Representatives for the passage 
of laws that adversely affected the Chinese in the United States, 
including the passage of the Chinese Exclusion Act.
  A century and a half ago, the Chinese were used as cheap labor to do 
the most dangerous work--laying the tracks of our transcontinental 
railway and building the California delta levees. They strengthened our 
Nation's infrastructure only to be persecuted when their labor was seen 
as competition and when the dirtiest work was done.
  In 1848, when gold fever spread across the Pacific Ocean, many 
thousands of young Chinese came in boats to Gold Mountain, to 
  In 1861 to 1865, there was waged a Civil War in this country. There 
were over 50 Chinese Americans who battled each other in this Civil 
War, a battle which went unnoticed.
  In 1863, the construction of the transcontinental railway commenced. 
With the discovery of silver in Nevada in 1865, many of the white 
workers left the railroad to search for silver. To fill the labor 
shortage, Charles Crocker, one of the big four investors of the 
railroad and the man responsible for constructing the western portion 
of the railroad, began hiring Chinese immigrants. Crocker's famous 
justification was, They built the Great Wall of China, didn't they?
  For the promise of $25 to $30 a month, the new workers endured long 
hours and harsh winters in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. While working 
in the Sierras, Chinese workers were hung in baskets, which were 2,000 
feet above raging rivers, in order to blast into the impenetrable 
granite mountain, making way for laying the tracks. Once they bored 
holes and stuffed them with dynamite, they had to be pulled back up 
before the fuse exploded, endangering the lives of everyone on both 
ends of the rope; and sometimes these poor souls in the baskets were 
not drawn up safely because there was no faith in the timing of the 
fuse--hence the origin of the phrase: you ain't got a Chinaman's 
chance. By 1867, 90 percent of the workers were Chinese; and by 1869, 
over 11,000 workers were Chinese.
  On the national historic site of the Golden Spike at Promontory, 
Utah, where on May 10, 1869, the final spike was driven, sits a plaque 
commemorating ``the attainment and achievement of the great political 
objective of binding together by iron bonds the extremities of the 
continental United States, a rail link from ocean to ocean.'' However, 
neither in Thomas Hill's famous painting nor in the historical photos 
of ``The Last Spike'' are the faces of the 11,000 Chinese workers 
  One wonders, where were these 11,000 workers? Perhaps they were given 
the day off on that day.
  Though absent in these visual, historical depictions, the Chinese 
left an undeniable and indelible mark on the history of California and 
in the larger story of binding this country from ocean to ocean. Upon 
the railroad completion, the Chinese settled in the California delta to 
help with the levee construction, thus advancing California's 
agricultural development.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The time of the gentleman has expired.
  Ms. CHU. I yield one more minute to the gentleman from California.

[[Page H3718]]

  Mr. HONDA. The passage of anti-Chinese laws illustrates the 
xenophobic hysteria of this country's shameful chapter of exclusion. We 
cannot vilify entire groups of people--we learned that--because it is 
politically or economically expedient.

                              {time}  1650

  The great thing about humanity is that we have the opportunity to 
learn from our mistakes.
  In closing, Mr. Speaker, I'm pleased that this resolution is on the 
floor today. Acknowledging and addressing these injustices throughout 
our Nation's history not only strengthens civil rights and civil 
justice, but doing so brings us closer to a more educated Nation and a 
more perfect union.
  Ms. CHU. Mr. Speaker, I yield 5 minutes to the gentleman from 
American Samoa, Representative Eni Faleomavaega.
  (Mr. FALEOMAVAEGA asked and was given permission to revise and extend 
his remarks.)
  Mr. FALEOMAVAEGA. Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the gentleman from 
Texas, the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, Mr. Lamar Smith, for 
his leadership and support of this legislation, as well as my good 
friend, Congressman Conyers, the ranking member of the Judiciary 
Committee for his support. I especially want to express my appreciation 
and thanks to the chairwoman of our congressional Asian Pacific Caucus, 
Ms. Judy Chu, not only as the chief sponsor of this legislation but for 
her dynamic leadership in bringing this bill to the floor today.
  Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of House Resolution 683, a resolution 
of regret for the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882. The Chinese Exclusion 
Act was the first major law restricting immigration to the United 
States to enforce a 10-year moratorium on Chinese immigrant laborers 
and denying naturalization to those who were already in the United 
States. Enacted on the premise that Chinese labors ``endangered the 
good order of certain localities,'' the law was largely motivated by 
economic fears by our fellow Americans who felt that Chinese laborers 
were to blame for unemployment and the declining wages in the West.
  Through the Geary Act of 1892, the Chinese Exclusion Act was extended 
for another 10 years before becoming permanent in 1902, and it was only 
repealed by the Magnuson Act of 1943, when China became an ally of the 
United States during World War II. Even then, the new law only allowed 
105 Chinese immigrants per year, a much lower quota than immigrant 
quotas from other countries and regions of the world. Large-scale 
Chinese immigration was only finally allowed again with the Immigration 
Act of 1965, some 80 years after the Chinese Exclusion Act.
  Like their counterparts from European countries, Chinese immigrants 
in the 19th century came to the United States in search of 
opportunities for a better life. Since the first wave of Chinese 
immigrants to the United States, the Chinese American community has 
contributed greatly to the development of our Nation, and it is a shame 
that these discriminatory practices and fear-based laws split up 
Chinese families and prevented them for decades from pursuing the 
American Dream. For example, Chinese laborers made up the majority of 
the Central Pacific railroad network workforce that connected the First 
Transcontinental Railroad through the Sierra Mountains into the Western 
States. Of course, that final spike was done in the State of Utah. The 
completion of the railroad--with the help of these Chinese laborers--
would later mobilize other industries and pave the way for a more 
connected and prosperous America.
  But the Chinese Exclusion Act, Mr. Speaker--the first law restricting 
entry of an ethnic working group--stifled Chinese immigrants' ability 
to lend their skills to the betterment of our Nation and become a part 
of the American family.
  Because this law was validated by leaders in our Nation, it gave 
credence to the underlying notion that certain groups did not deserve 
fair treatment in our Nation. The policy sent a clear message that 
Chinese immigrants were not qualified for the American Dream. 
Furthermore, it set a precedent for later policies against immigrant 
groups such as the National Origins Act of 1929, which barred Asian 
immigration, and our shameful policy of interning some 100,000 
Americans born in the United States but who happened to be of Japanese 
  This is one reason why I always admired our Nation, Mr. Speaker, and 
our form of democracy, and that is, it tries to correct its mistakes 
from the past. While our Nation has come a long way since this 
legislation was enacted 130 years ago, let us continually be reminded 
in our diverse country to uphold the founding principle of our Nation: 
that all men and women are to be treated equally and fairly under the 
  With that, I urge my colleagues to pass this bill.
  Ms. CHU. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
  Today is historic. This is a very significant day in the Chinese 
American community. It is an expression that discrimination has no 
place in our society and that the promise of equality is available to 
  This is only the fourth such apology in the last 25 years. In 1988, 
President Reagan signed the bill apologizing for the Japanese American 
interment during World War II. In 1993, Congress apologized to 
Hawaiians for the U.S.-led overthrow of their monarchy. In 2008, the 
House issued an apology to African Americans on behalf of the people of 
the United States for the wrongs committed against them and their 
ancestors who suffered under slavery and Jim Crow.
  This bill was a huge undertaking, requiring the efforts of Chinese 
Americans and their supporters all across the Nation. Without the 
dedication of countless community organizations and grassroots 
advocates across the country, none of this would have happened.
  I thank them, and I thank all the Congress Members from both sides of 
the aisle, including the 50 cosponsors of the bill and especially 
Chairman Lamar Smith, for their support.
  With that, I yield back the balance of my time.
  Mr. SMITH of Texas. Mr. Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.
  Mr. BERMAN. Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of H. Res. 683, which 
expresses regret for a series of discriminatory laws passed between 
1879 and 1904 that targeted individuals of Chinese descent in the 
United States, and yield myself as much time as I may consume.
  I'd like to begin by thanking the gentlelady from California, Ms. 
Chu, for her leadership on this bipartisan resolution. To my friend, 
the Chairman of the Judiciary Committee, Mr. Smith, thank you for your 
work on this resolution and for bringing it to the floor so quickly.
  Beginning in 1879, Congress passed a series of discriminatory 
measures against the Chinese that restricted immigration and violated 
the civil rights of the Chinese living in the U.S.
  At the height of Chinese immigration to the U.S. in the 19th and 20th 
centuries, many Chinese--like immigrants from other parts of the 
world--were searching for the opportunity to create a better life, 
driven by their hope that America could be their new promised land.
  With the enactment of multiple Chinese Exclusion Acts, immigrants 
from China were denied the right to be naturalized as American 
  Six decades of anti-Chinese legislation resulted in the persecution 
and political alienation of persons of Chinese descent and legitimized 
racial discrimination, excluding them both from the democratic process 
and the American promise of freedom.
  Chinese-Americans have since achieved prominence in all walks of 
American life. Though we may not be able to reverse the past, we can 
take action now.
  By acknowledging and expressing regret for this bleak period in our 
history, we reaffirm our core principles of equality and justice upon 
which our country was founded.
  Mr. Speaker, H. Res. 683 is an important demonstration of our 
bipartisan commitment to recognize the continued contributions of the 
Chinese-American community in the United States, and I urge my 
colleagues to support it.
  Ms. JACKSON LEE of Texas. Mr. Speaker, I rise today in support of H. 
Res. 683, ``Expressing the regret of the House of Representatives for 
the passages of laws that adversely affected the Chinese in the United 
States, including the Chinese Exclusion Act.'' This resolution 
acknowledges the historical injustices against Chinese Americans, as 
reflected by a series of laws; however, with a particular emphasis on 
the Chinese Exclusion Act that which was first passed on March 23, 
  One hundred thirty years after the passage of the Chinese Exclusion 
Act and other such measures unjustly targeting individuals in the U.S. 
with Chinese heritage, it is necessary for

[[Page H3719]]

Congress to take steps to right the wrongs that were placed on 
thousands of people by recognizing that discriminatory laws were passed 
that had a harmful effect on persons of Chinese decent here in the 
United States.
  Just last year, I congratulated the Chinese American Citizens 
Alliance in Houston, Texas during their momentous 51st Biennial 
National Convention. This historical and highly respected organization 
was founded in response to the repressive 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act 
and other Federal and State laws that aimed to restrict and ostracize. 
This celebration highlights the organization's 116 years as the oldest 
Asian American civil rights organization, consciously commemorating its 
courageous founders by continuing to pioneer a pragmatic future.
  Securing equal economic and political support, cultivating minds 
through the exchange of knowledge, defending American citizenship, and 
observing the practice of the principles of brotherly love and mutual 
help, are a few of this organizations highly beneficial practices.
  These goals are achieved by the organization's eighteen affiliated 
chapters being highly decorated with individuals of significant 
achievement; including leaders in the legal, medical, educational, 
scientific, arts and literature as well as corporate, business, and 
entrepreneurial endeavors. These endeavors are also supported by 
Members of Congress who recognize the important contributions of 
Chinese Americans. Legislation like the one before us today serve as 
reminders of how important it is not to remember our past so that we do 
not repeat it.
  The United States has always been a place where people from diverse 
backgrounds arrive in hopes of attaining better opportunity, seeking 
refuge to escape prosecution and provide a more fruitful lifestyle for 
their families, likewise in the 19th and 20th century many Chinese came 
to the United States for similar reasons, unfortunately they were not 
treated favorably.
  With the passage of legislation that limited Chinese immigration such 
as the renegotiation of the Burlingame Treaty and the Fifteen Passenger 
Bill which only permitted 15 Chinese passengers on any ship coming to 
the United States, the Chinese in this country were directly affected 
by unequal treatment.
  On a personal level I can relate to the plight of many Chinese 
Americans as they fought to be accepted in the United States. I am well 
aware of the United State's history of discrimination and the harmful 
impact such discrimination has upon our society as a whole. It is my 
belief that no one should be forced to endure inequality on the basis 
of their race, class, gender or religious belief.
  It is necessary that measures are constantly taken to ensure that our 
past failures are acknowledged and not repeated. H.R. 683 demonstrates 
the regret felt by the House of Representatives for the passages of 
laws that targeted people of Chinese origin solely based upon their 
  The passage of this bill will make clear that we do not support those 
actions today. It is essential that we continue to aim for cultural 
acceptance and embrace the differences that make up the diversity of 
this country that sets us apart from any other nation.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The question is on the motion offered by the 
gentleman from Texas (Mr. Smith) that the House suspend the rules and 
agree to the resolution, House Resolution 683.
  The question was taken; and (two-thirds being in the affirmative) the 
rules were suspended and the resolution was agreed to.
  A motion to reconsider was laid on the table.