On This Day — President Roosevelt Orders Internment of Japanese Americans (February 19 1942) [2020]

“The truth is—as this deplorable experience proves—that constitutions and laws are not sufficient of themselves…Despite the unequivocal language of the Constitution of the United States that the writ of habeas corpus shall not be suspended, and despite the Fifth Amendment’s command that no person shall be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law, both of these constitutional safeguards were denied by military action under Executive Order 9066.”

Former Supreme Court Justice Tom C. Clark — “Executive Order 9066: The Internment of 110,000 Japanese Americans”

On February 19 1942, US President Roosevelt signed executive order 9066 which allowed regional military commanders to designate “military areas” from which any or all persons may be excluded. Follow us on Twitter: @INTEL_TODAY

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UPDATE (February 19 2020) — Better late than never. California State Assembly plans to formally apologize for its role in the detention.

The resolution, introduced by State Assemblyman Al Muratsuchi on January 28 2020, is expected to receive broad support.

The resolution said the California Legislature “apologizes to all Americans of Japanese ancestry for its past actions in support of the unjust inclusion, removal, and incarceration of Japanese-Americans during World War II, and for its failure to support and defend the civil rights and civil liberties of Japanese-Americans during this period.”

(…)

Paul Tomita, who was about 3 when his family was forced to leave their home in Washington State and relocate to a camp in Idaho, said the resolution felt too late.

“It’s nice, OK, but it was almost 80 years ago and most of us that were there are dead,” said Mr. Tomita, who is now 80.

“Those that were really affected — like my grandparents and parents who lost everything, their businesses, their houses, everything — they’re dead,” he said. (…)

“Did they set up concentration camps for German-Americans or Italian-Americans? No,” he said. “You would think we should learn from past history. Of course, we don’t. [NYT Feb 18 2020]

The text of the Resolution was unanimously approved by the Assembly’s judiciary committee on February 6 2020. [A House Resolution does not require Governor Gavin Newsom’s signature.]

Assemblyman Muratsuchi said on Twitter that he would bring the resolution for a full vote on Thursday (Feb. 20 2020), one day after the Day of Remembrance, which commemorates Mr. Roosevelt’s signing the internment order in 1942.

END of UPDATE

This authority was used to declare that all people of Japanese ancestry were excluded from the West Coast, including all of California and parts of Oregon, Washington, and Arizona, except for those in government camps.

Of 127,000 Japanese Americans living in the continental United States at the time of the Pearl Harbor attack, 112,000 resided on the West Coast.

About 80,000 were Nisei (literal translation: “second generation”; American-born Japanese with U.S. citizenship) and Sansei (“third generation”; the children of Nisei). The rest were Issei (“first generation”) immigrants born in Japan who were ineligible for U.S. citizenship under U.S. law.

The United States Census Bureau assisted the internment efforts by spying and providing confidential neighborhood information on Japanese Americans. The Bureau denied its role for decades, but it became public in 2007.

In 1944, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the removal by ruling against Fred Korematsu’s appeal for violating an exclusion order. The Court limited its decision to the validity of the exclusion orders, avoiding the issue of the incarceration of U.S. citizens without due process.

In 1980, under mounting pressure from the Japanese American Citizens League and redress organizations, President Jimmy Carter opened an investigation to determine whether the decision to put Japanese Americans into concentration camps had been justified by the government.

He appointed the Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians (CWRIC) to investigate the camps. The Commission’s report, titled Personal Justice Denied, found little evidence of Japanese disloyalty at the time and concluded that the incarceration had been the product of racism. It recommended that the government pay reparations to the internees.

In 1988, President Ronald Reagan signed into law the Civil Liberties Act of 1988 which apologized for the internment on behalf of the U.S. government and authorized a payment of $20,000 (equivalent to $42,000 in 2018) to each camp survivor.

The legislation admitted that government actions were based on “race prejudice, war hysteria, and a failure of political leadership.”

Japanese American Internment During WWII

REFERENCES

Internment of Japanese Americans — Wikipedia

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On This Day — President Roosevelt Orders Internment of Japanese Americans (February 19 1942)

On This Day — President Roosevelt Orders Internment of Japanese Americans (February 19 1942) [2020]

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