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The Living Legacy of the Chinese Exclusion Act in the 21st Century
June 12, 2021 @ 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm
Join CHSA for a presentation by Harvard’s Jonathan Alloy as he shares his research on the contemporary legacy of the 1882 Exclusion Act.
The horrific attacks on Asian-Americans during the COVID pandemic are in part a legacy of America’s first laws of ethnic discrimination. The Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, by setting Chinese-Americans apart as forever “other,” did far more damage to the rights of immigrants to America than popularly understood. The Exclusion Act and its related court cases set the stage for contemporary immigration discrimination by defining people who are “aliens” not subject to or protected by the Constitution. Judicial precedents resulting from challenges to the Chinese Exclusion Act, such as Plenary Power and National Security Exceptionalism, are still in use today to justify gatekeeping and exclusionary immigration practices – including the 2017 “Muslim Ban” and the government’s 2020 proposal to exclude certain immigrants from being counted in the Census (since rejected by the Supreme Court). The actions by the government in the 19th and 20th centuries to enforce the Chinese Exclusion Act led to the creation of green cards, passports, and the immigration bureaucracy that continues in the 21st century to surveil and control those who wish to become Americans.
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Jonathan Alloy is a master’s student in international relations at Harvard University and holds an MBA from the University of Michigan. He is an inclusive and innovative financial services leader who’s worked for three Fortune 500 firms, two companies in the Dow Jones Industrial Average, and one company in the NASDAQ 100. He lives with his family in Westport, CT.