On May 6, 1882, the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act, was the first substantial federal restriction on United States immigration. The law prohibited all immigration of Chinese laborers and was followed with many local ordinances and state laws aimed to exclude and harass Chinese laborers and merchants, often leading to violence. Several extensions to the 1882 Act were made with more restrictive and discriminatory provisions, over the next fifty years. The Chinese Exclusion Act provisions was not repealed until the 1943 Magnuson Act, allowing the naturalization of Chinese, and the 1965 Hart Cellar Act, removing the restriction on immigration of Chinese individuals.
OCA worked with the 1882 Project, a nonpartisan, grassroots effort focused on educating law makers and the public about the Chinese Exclusion Laws and the impact such legislation had on our history. In 2012, OCA and the 1882 Project worked with the 112th Congress to secure the passage of two resolutions (H Res. 683 and S. Res. 201) expressing regret for the passage of the Chinese Exclusion Laws. The purpose of the work was to recognize the harm done by the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act to the civil rights of individuals, families, and communities. The Congressional statement helps heal the scarred psyche of Chinese Americans, brings awareness to ensure that this historical experience is not repeated, and reminds all Americans that protection of fundamental civil rights is essential in the United States.
OCA is proud to sit on the steering committee with organizations such as Chinese American Citizens Alliance, Committee of 100, Japanese American Citizens League, and the National Council of Chinese Americans. Learn more about the 1882 Project HERE.