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US government agency moves Chinese Immigration Files out of state

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Posted by jwc LOW on June 12, 1998 at 01:03:34:

Okay, the chinese community (Asian America Studies which include scholars, researchers and yours truly, family historians need your help to stop the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) to systematically make a decision to move Chinese Immigration Files out of the 13 regional branches to some isolated location for mass storage for economic reasons. They are also playing with the idea of microfilming or making the documents available via internet which would grossly be invading privacy issues for those immigrants and their descendents.

These Chinese Immigration Files (RG85) were created to scrutinize the Chinese immigrants as a result of the Chinese Exclusion acts, 1882-1943. (Those acts created the requirement that all Chinese immigrants carry "Certificates of Identity" until 1943.

At one of the West Coast branches there are some 250,000+ individual case files which consists of extremely sensitive family documents (in some cases, government deportation proceedings against individuals, photos, medical, fingerprints, birth/wedding certificates, witness interrogations. Another 100,000+ are the "confession and amnesty" files, 1950's-1970's of those who used "paper identities". Typically, those files consist of 25-100 pages on each Chinese immigrant and their witnesses. Most of the Chinese immigrants from 1910-1950's were detained at the entry ports from two weeks to three years until they sufficiently convinced Immigration and Naturalization officials of their identities. Except other Asian immigrants during that era, were Euroimmigrants afforded the same "treatment." No longer will you be able to see the original files; unavailability of knowledgeable staff; privacy concerns; questionable economic savings.

Please join me and the Asian American community in protesting these bureaucratic decisions:

Write to your Congress representative to protest this move. You may also write Nara through the email at:

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