|Enacted by||the 100th United States Congress|
|Public law||Pub.L. 100–383|
|Statutes at Large||102 Stat. 904|
The Civil Liberties Act of 1988 (Pub.L. 100–383, title I, August 10, 1988, 102 Stat. 904, 50a U.S.C. § 1989b et seq.) is a United States federal law that granted reparations to Japanese Americans who had been interned by the United States government during World War II. The act was sponsored by California's Democratic Congressman Norman Mineta, an internee as a child, and Wyoming's Republican Senator Alan K. Simpson, who first met Mineta while visiting an internment camp. The third co-sponsor was California Senator Pete Wilson. The bill was supported by the majority of Democrats in Congress, while the majority of Republicans voted against it. The act was signed into law by President Ronald Reagan.
An Act of Congress is a statute enacted by the United States Congress. It can either be a Public Law, relating to the general public, or a Private Law, relating to specific institutions or individuals.
The United States Statutes at Large, commonly referred to as the Statutes at Large and abbreviated Stat., are an official record of Acts of Congress and concurrent resolutions passed by the United States Congress. Each act and resolution of Congress is originally published as a slip law, which is classified as either public law or private law (Pvt.L.), and designated and numbered accordingly. At the end of a Congressional session, the statutes enacted during that session are compiled into bound books, known as "session law" publications. The session law publication for U.S. Federal statutes is called the United States Statutes at Large. In that publication, the public laws and private laws are numbered and organized in chronological order. U.S. Federal statutes are published in a three-part process, consisting of slip laws, session laws, and codification.
In jurisprudence, reparation is replenishment of a previously inflicted loss by the criminal to the victim. Monetary restitution is a common form of reparation.
The act granted each surviving internee about US$20,000 in compensation (or, $40,000 after inflation-adjustment in 2016 dollars), with payments beginning in 1990. The legislation stated that government actions were based on "race prejudice, war hysteria, and a failure of political leadership" as opposed to legitimate security reasons.A total of 82,219 received redress checks.
Because the law was restricted to American citizens, or legal permanent residents, the ethnic Japanese that had been taken from their homes in Latin America (mostly from Peru), were not covered in the reparations, and regardless of whether they remained in the United States, returned to Latin America, or were deported to Japan after the war. In 1996, Carmen Mochizuki filed a class-action lawsuit,and won a settlement of around $5,000 per person to those eligible from what was left of the funds from the CLA. One hundred forty-five of those affected were able to receive the $5,000 settlement before the funds ran out. In 1999, funds were approved for the attorney general to pay out to the rest of the claimants.
The internment of Japanese Americans was the forced removal and confinement of approximately 120,000Japanese Americans (62% of whom were United States citizens) from the West Coast of the United States during World War II. Some 5,500 Japanese American men arrested by the FBI immediately after the attack on Pearl Harbor were sent directly to internment camps run by the Department of Justice, and approximately 5,000 were able to "voluntarily" relocate to other parts of the country before forced evacuations began. The remainder — roughly 110,000 men, women and children — were sent to "relocation centers," hastily constructed camps in remote portions of the nation's interior, run by the War Relocation Authority (WRA).
Japanese Americans are Americans who are fully or partially of Japanese descent, especially those who identify with that ancestry, along with their cultural characteristics. Japanese Americans were among the three largest Asian American ethnic communities during the 20th century; but, according to the 2000 census, they have declined in number to constitute the sixth largest Asian American group at around 1.4 million, including those of partial ancestry. According to the 2010 census, the largest Japanese American communities were found in California with 272,528, Hawaii with 185,502, New York with 37,780, Washington with 35,008, Illinois with 17,542, and Ohio with 16,995. Southern California has the largest Japanese American population in North America and the city of Torrance holds the densest Japanese American population in the 48 contiguous states.
The West Coast or Pacific Coast is the coastline along which the continental Western United States meets the North Pacific Ocean. As a region, this term most often refers to the coastal states of California, Oregon, Washington, and Alaska. More specifically, it refers to an area defined on the east by the Alaska Range, Cascade Range, Sierra Nevada, and Mojave Desert, and on the west by the Pacific Ocean. The United States Census groups the five states of California, Oregon, Washington, Alaska, and Hawaii together as the Pacific States division.
World War II, also known as the Second World War, was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. The vast majority of the world's countries—including all the great powers—eventually formed two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. A state of total war emerged, directly involving more than 100 million people from over 30 countries. The major participants threw their entire economic, industrial, and scientific capabilities behind the war effort, blurring the distinction between civilian and military resources. World War II was the deadliest conflict in human history, marked by 50 to 85 million fatalities, most of whom were civilians in the Soviet Union and China. It included massacres, the genocide of the Holocaust, strategic bombing, premeditated death from starvation and disease, and the only use of nuclear weapons in war.
President Franklin D. Roosevelt authorized the internment with Executive Order 9066, which allowed local military commanders to designate "military areas" from which "any or all persons may be excluded." This power was used to declare that all people of Japanese ancestry were excluded from the entire Pacific coast region, including all of California and parts of Oregon, Washington, and Arizona, except for those in government custody.In 1944, the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the exclusion, removal, and detention, arguing that it is permissible to curtail the civil rights of a racial group when there is a "pressing public necessity."
President of the United States (POTUS) is the title for the head of state and head of government of the United States of America. The president directs the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt, often referred to by his initials FDR, was an American statesman and political leader who served as the 32nd president of the United States from 1933 until his death in 1945. A Democrat, he won a record four presidential elections and became a central figure in world events during the first half of the 20th century. Roosevelt directed the federal government during most of the Great Depression, implementing his New Deal domestic agenda in response to the worst economic crisis in U.S. history. As a dominant leader of his party, he built the New Deal Coalition, which realigned American politics into the Fifth Party System and defined American liberalism throughout the middle third of the 20th century. His third and fourth terms were dominated by World War II. Roosevelt is widely considered to be one of the most important figures in American history, as well as among the most influential figures of the 20th century. Though he has also been subject to much criticism, he is generally rated by scholars as one of the three greatest U.S. presidents, along with George Washington and Abraham Lincoln.
Executive Order 9066 was a United States presidential executive order signed and issued during World War II by United States President Franklin D. Roosevelt on February 19, 1942. This order authorized the Secretary of War to prescribe certain areas as military zones, clearing the way for the incarceration of Japanese Americans, German Americans, and Italian Americans in U.S. concentration camps.
Some compensation for property losses was paid in 1948, but most internees were unable to fully recover their losses.In the 1960s and 1970s, a renewed movement formed within the Japanese American community to obtain redress for the wartime incarceration. The Japanese American Citizens League introduced a resolution to seek individual reparations at its 1970 conference and soon after began working with community activists and political leaders to lobby for legislative action. In 1979, the National Council for Japanese American Redress filed a class action lawsuit against the federal government on behalf of former camp inmates, and in 1980, after a push from Senator Daniel Inouye and Congressmen Robert Matsui, Spark Matsunaga and Norman Mineta, Congress appointed a committee to study the effects of the incarceration and the potential for redress. The Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians held investigative hearings in eleven U.S. cities, at which over 750 individuals gave testimony of their experiences during and after the war. In 1983, the Commission published its findings in the report Personal Justice Denied, writing that the displacement of Japanese Americans during the war had been the result of "race prejudice, war hysteria and a failure of political leadership" and recommending monetary reparations be made to former internees. Although the bill to issue a formal apology and implement the CWRIC's recommendations, introduced in 1987, faced heavy resistance from President Reagan and Senate Republicans opposed to increased federal spending, it was signed into law on August 10, 1988.
The Japanese American Citizens League is an Asian American civil rights charity, headquartered in San Francisco, with regional offices across the United States.
Daniel Ken Inouye was an American politician who served as a United States Senator from Hawaii from 1963 until his death in 2012. A member of the Democratic Party, he was President pro tempore of the United States Senate from 2010 until his death, making him the highest-ranking Asian-American politician in US history. Inouye also chaired various Senate Committees, including those on Intelligence, Commerce and Appropriations.
Spark Masayuki Matsunaga was a United States Senator from Hawaii, serving from 1977 until his death in 1990. He was an American Democrat whose legislation in the United States Senate led to the creation of the Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians and the United States Institute of Peace.
On October 9, 1990, a ceremony was held to present the first reparations checks. Nine elderly Issei received $20,000 each and a formal apology signed by President George H. W. Bush. United States Attorney General Dick Thornburgh presented the checks to the attendees, dropping to his knees to reach those in wheelchairs.
Payments to surviving internees or their heirs continued until 1993, overseen by the Office of Redress Administration, one of two government agencies created to carry out the 1988 act's implementation.The other, the Civil Liberties Public Education Fund, was established in order to meet the redress bill's provision to educate the public about the incarceration. $50 million was authorized "to sponsor research and public educational activities" in 1988, but anti-spending lobbying put the education program on hold until 1994 and reduced the final amount to $5 million. President Bill Clinton appointed an advisory board in 1996, and the CLPEF was used to fund various educational programs and grants from 1997 to 1998.
The Civil Liberties Act of 1988, Restitution for World War II internment of Japanese-Americans and Aleuts, states that it is intended to:
While the majority of Democrats in Congress voted for the bill, the majority of Republicans voted against it. On September 17, 1987, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the bill by a vote of 243 to 141, with 38 members not voting. The majority of Democrats in the House voted for the bill (180 in favor vs. 43 opposed) while a majority of Republicans voted against it (63 in favor vs. 98 opposed).On April 20, 1988, the U.S. Senate passed the bill by a vote of 69 to 27, with 4 members not voting. A large majority of Democrats voted for the bill (44 in favor vs. 7 opposed), while a more narrow majority of Senate Republicans also voted for the bill (25 in favor vs. 20 opposed).
The internment of Japanese Americans in the United States during World War II was the forced relocation and incarceration in concentration camps in the western interior of the country of between 110,000 and 120,000 people of Japanese ancestry, most of whom lived on the Pacific coast. Sixty-two percent of the internees were United States citizens. These actions were ordered by President Franklin D. Roosevelt shortly after Imperial Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor.
The Heart Mountain War Relocation Center, named after nearby Heart Mountain and located midway between the towns of Cody and Powell in northwest Wyoming, was one of ten concentration camps used for the internment of Japanese Americans evicted from the West Coast Exclusion Zone during World War II by executive order from President Franklin Roosevelt after the bombing of Pearl Harbor in December 1941, upon the recommendation of Lieutenant General John L. DeWitt.
The Tule Lake National Monument in Modoc and Siskiyou counties in California, consists primarily of the site of the Tule Lake War Relocation Center, one of ten concentration camps constructed in 1942 by the United States government to incarcerate Japanese Americans forcibly removed from their homes on the West Coast. They totaled nearly 120,000 people, two-thirds of whom were United States citizens.
Minidoka National Historic Site is a National Historic Site in the western United States. It commemorates the more than 9,000 Japanese Americans who were imprisoned at the Minidoka War Relocation Center during the Second World War.
The Aleut Restitution Act of 1988 was a reparation settlement passed by the United States Congress in 1988, in response to the internment of Aleut people living in the Aleutian Islands during World War II.
The Topaz War Relocation Center, also known as the Central Utah Relocation Center (Topaz) and briefly as the Abraham Relocation Center, was an internment camp which housed Americans of Japanese descent and immigrants who had come to the United States from Japan, called Nikkei. President Franklin Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066 in February 1942, ordering people of Japanese ancestry to be incarcerated in "relocation centers" like Topaz during World War II. Most of the people interred at Topaz came from the Tanforan Assembly Center and previously lived in the San Francisco Bay Area. The camp was opened in September 1942 and closed in October 1945.
The Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians (CWRIC) was a group of nine people appointed by the U.S. Congress in 1980 to conduct an official governmental study of Executive Order 9066 (1942), related orders during World War II, and their effects on Japanese Americans in the West and Alaska Natives in the Pribilof Islands. In February 1981, the Commission concluded that the incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II was a "grave injustice." In July 1981, the Commission held public hearings in Washington, D.C. to hear testimony from Japanese-American and Alaska Native witnesses. Public hearings followed in other American cities, including Seattle, San Francisco, Cambridge, New York City, Anchorage, the Aleutian Islands, Pribilof Islands, Chicago, and Los Angeles, where the testimonies were recorded. More than 750 people testified.
On February 19, 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066 relocating 110,000 Japanese Americans from the West Coast into internment camps for the duration of the war. The personal rights, liberties, and freedoms of Japanese Americans were suspended by the United States Government.
The following article focuses on the movement to obtain redress for the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II, and significant court cases that have shaped civil and human rights for Japanese Americans and other minorities. These cases have been the cause and/or catalyst to many changes in United States law. But mainly, they have resulted in adjusting the perception of Asian immigrants in the eyes of the American government.
Japanese American history is the history of Japanese Americans or the history of ethnic Japanese in the United States. People from Japan began immigrating to the U.S. in significant numbers following the political, cultural, and social changes stemming from the 1868 Meiji Restoration. Japanese immigration to the Americas started with immigration to Hawaii and Alaska in the first year of the Meiji period in 1868.
Densho is a nonprofit organization based in Seattle, Washington, which collects video oral histories and documents regarding Japanese American internment in the United States during World War II. Densho offers a free online digital archive of the primary sources for educational purposes.
Tsuyako "Sox" Kitashima was a Japanese-American activist noted for her role in seeking reparations for Japanese American internment by the United States government during World War II, particularly as investigated by the Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians in the 1980s.
William Minoru Hohri was an American political activist and the lead plaintiff in the National Council for Japanese American Redress lawsuit seeking monetary reparations for the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II. He was sent to the Manzanar concentration camp with his family after the attack on Pearl Harbor triggered the United States' entry into the war. After leading the NCJAR's class action suit against the federal government, which was dismissed, Hohri's advocacy helped convince Congress to pass legislation that provided compensation to each surviving internee. The legislation, signed by President Ronald Reagan in 1988, included an apology to those sent to the camps.
Michi Nishiura Weglyn was the author of the book Years of Infamy: The Untold Story of America’s Concentration Camps, which fueled a movement leading to reparations for Japanese Americans interned during World War II. She was also a vocal advocate for those denied redress under the Civil Liberties Act of 1988 and for the more than 2,200 Japanese Peruvians who were taken from their homes by the U.S. government and used in a hostage exchange program with Japan.
Aiko Herzig-Yoshinaga was an American political activist who played a major role in the Japanese American redress movement. She was the lead researcher of the Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians, a bipartisan federal committee appointed by Congress in 1980 to review the causes and effects of the Japanese American incarceration during World War II. Herzig-Yoshinaga, who was confined in the Manzanar, California and Jerome and Rohwer, Arkansas concentration camps as a young woman, uncovered government documents that debunked the wartime administration's claims of "military necessity" and helped compile the CWRIC's final report, Personal Justice Denied, which led to the issuance of a formal apology and reparations for former camp inmates. She also contributed pivotal evidence and testimony to the Hirabayashi, Korematsu and Yasui coram nobis cases.
Lillian Baker was a conservative author and lecturer She is known for supporting Japanese-American Internment throughout her career.
Ralph Lazo was the only known non-spouse, non-Japanese American who voluntarily relocated to a World War II Japanese American internment camp. His experience was the subject of the 2004 narrative short film Stand Up for Justice: The Ralph Lazo Story.
Grayce Uyehara, née Kaneda, was a Japanese-American social worker and activist who led the campaign for a formal government apology for Japanese-American internment during World War II.