SAN JOSE (AP) — A Bay Area congressman is calling on the United States to issue an official apology for the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882.

Rep. Mike Honda made the call Sunday at an event commemorating the 69th anniversary of the executive order that sent 120,000 Japanese and Japanese-Americans to internment camps during World War II.

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The Democrat from San Jose also called on Americans to stop blaming immigrants, noting similarities between the treatment of Japanese-Americans 70 years ago with anti-immigrant sentiments today.

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The 1882 federal law suspended Chinese immigration and made Chinese living here permanent aliens ineligible for U.S. citizenship. It was later extended to other Asians and expanded to bar aliens from owning property.

Honda says years of scapegoating foreigners for the nation’s economic ills had led to the Chinese Exclusion Act.

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