To his credit, President Joe Biden, during his first eight months in office, has moved to cancel some of the most obvious and egregious examples of racial and religious discrimination that Donald Trump and Stephen Miller had put in place to stop brown immigrants from legally entering or living in the United States. These included the Muslim ban, the new Miller Public Charge rules which were designed to throw huge roadblocks in the way of family based green cards, and changes in the H-1B regulations which would have virtually eliminated or drastically cut back on legal immigration by highly skilled and educated Indian and other mainly Asian professional workers.

But ,inexplicably, President Biden has left in place some other equally bigoted Trump era anti-immigrant measures; such as using Title 42 as a pretext to bar asylum seekers at the Mexican border on Trumped-up Covid-19 grounds. (This is even as Trump supporting GOP governors fight furiously to stop schools and local governments from mandating Covid-19 mask and vaccination protections, while hospitals and morgues in their states are overflowing with Covid-19 cases and deaths.)

The Guardian now reports that President Biden is still moving ahead with another glaring example of Trump-era bigotry - a program which singles out academic researchers of Chinese ancestry at American Universities for investigation as possible spies for the Chinese government. If there was ever a movement to bring back the spirit of the notorious late 19th century Chinese exclusion laws, this would certainly qualify. See:

The above article includes a link to a letter signed by 90 members of Congress to Attorney General Merrick Garland urging him to terminate Trump's Orwellian- named "China Initiative" program that singles out Asian-American university researchers for investigation as potential spies for China. The letter includes the following paragraph.

"The pervasive racial bias and targeting of Asian Americans is not new. Despite being part of the fabric of American society for centuries, Asian Americans are still sometimes viewed as "perpetual foreigners." This racism has manifested itself at many points throughout US history including with [sic] the "Yellow Peril" hystria; the mass lynching of Chinese immigrants in Los Angeles; the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882...the rise of Covid-related hate crimes against AAPIs; and the targeting of AAPI scientists and professors."

Trump himself did not hesitate to use rhetoric that was directly in the spirit of the Chinese Exclusion Act when he called Covid-19 the "China Plague". This openly racist comment was a notable departure from his approach to Covid-19 while in office that can only be described as "relaxed", to put it very kindly, and which sometimes went to the extreme of outright denial - helping to lead to the deaths of more than 600,000 Americans during his term in office.

This anti-Chinese racial slur was also on a par with Trump's unspeakably reprehensible 2018 reference to African and Caribbean immigrants as coming from "shithole" countries.

While the main targets of the Trump-Biden Chinese spy investigation program appear to have been Asian Americans rather than immigrants, the inherent racism in such a program is hardly likely to make Chinese or other Asian immigrants feel more welcome in the United States.

Roger Algase
Attorney at Law
Harvard Law School A.B.
Harvard College LL.B