With an expression of remorse from the U.S. House of Representatives on Monday, a two-year battle Covington & Burling helped wage for Chinese-Americans was over.
The House approved by voice vote a resolution that said the chamber regrets passing bills that allowed for discrimination against Chinese immigrants and laborers in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Covington lobbyists advocated for the resolution and a similar measure in the U.S. Senate, which that body approved in October, pro bono for the Chinese-American community.
Covington partner Martin Gold, the leader of the firm's lobbying effort, said passing the measures is "highly meaningful" to Chinese-Americans and an "enormously important acknowledgement" by Congress.
Congressional apologies to American racial or ethnic groups for wrongdoing by the U.S. government are uncommon.
Most recently, in 2009 and 2008, the House and Senate approved resolutions apologizing for slavery and subsequent Jim Crow laws that discriminated against blacks. Congress also expressed remorse in 1993 for overthrowing the Kingdom of Hawaii, and apologized in 1988 for discrimination against Japanese-Americans during World War II.