I do want to say few closing remarks. It is easy for us to pronounce that the Repeal of the
Chinese Exclusion Act is for the purpose of righting a wrong, to get justice for the harm and
violence that befell the Chinese people. To prevent history repeating –the lynchings, the killings,
the driving out… the loss of opportunities…suspicions of disloyalty, that we are perpetual foreigner, or
just invisible and inconsequential. Of course, all of this must be addressed. It is unfortunate that after
80 years of the Exclusion Act’s repeal, we are still facing anti-Asian hate and FBI “whole-of-society”
approaches to investigations.

Let’s look at the Exclusion Laws and Repeal in another context. This is germane to the fact this year is
also the 125th anniversary of the Wong Kim Ark decision that affirmed Birthright Citizenship.

These laws –of exclusion—affect everyone. They are about who can become Americans. We may have
tried historically to fix that definition on race, several times, but that has not held up. Lately, we have
begun to question birthright citizenship by saying the parents of children born in the U.S. must have
certain immigration status and pedigree. This undermines a fundamental principle that makes America
exceptional. It does not matter under America’s Birthright Citizenship whether your father was King
George or Poor Rihard, or what was your parents’ previous condition servitude. When you are born in
this country, you are equal to everyone else, and they are equal to you.

So, I can ask you, who are you –“We are Americans.” And, that is enough of an answer. Can I ask you to
say loudly and proudly, “We Are Americans.” We are not invisible. Stand up and toast one another “WE
are Americans.”


View the December 17, 2023 Statement from President Joe Biden on the 80th Anniversary of the Repeal of the Chinese Exclusion Act.