Thursday, April 16, 2009

Son of a Son of a Paper Son

Commerce Secretary Gary Locke has a family secret: his Chinese immigrant grandfather lied to get into the country.

“I’m not really sure, but I think my grandfather claimed he was born here but the birth records were destroyed,” Locke said.

For more than half a century, in an act of overt institutional racism, the Chinese were barred from legally entering the United States, with only a few exceptions. The Chinese Exclusion Act lasted until 1943. Those who managed to get in were often called “paper sons,” using elaborate ruses about lost documentation to enter the country. [Link]

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