June 01, 2016

Japanese American Internment

ABA President Paulette Brown, in a June 17 letter to Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), expressed support for a resolution introduced by Hirono that recognizes the historical significance of the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II and expresses the sense of the Senate that policies that discriminate against an individual based on race, ethnicity, national origin, or religion would be a repetition of past mistakes. The resolution, S. Res. 373, also expresses support for the goals of the Japanese American community in recognizing a National Day of Remembrance to increase public awareness about the unjust measures taken in 1942 to restrict the freedom of Japanese Americans. Such a day, according to the resolution, would be an opportunity to reflect on the importance of upholding justice and civil liberties of all people of the United States. “It is sobering to recall that during the war every branch of our government – even the judiciary – justified the exclusion, forced removal and incarceration of citizens and permanent resident aliens of Japanese descent as necessary for our national defense,” Brown wrote. She said the justification failed to distinguish Japanese Americans from the Japanese Empire, thereby turning every Japanese American into a potential enemy of the United States. “Your resolution is a reminder that our national experience has taught us that in time of crisis we must vigilantly guard against the dangers of overreaction and undue trespass on individual rights lest we betray our values and lose the very freedoms we are fighting to protect,” Brown emphasized.

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