Remembering Japanese Internment

Photo: University of Utah, Tule Lake Camp Exhibit

Washington, DC | | February 19, 2016 – Today, the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) remembers the implementation of one of our nation’s most xenophobic policies in recent memory, Executive Order 9066. Seventy-four years ago, the U.S. government rounded up and imprisoned more than 110,000 Americans due entirely to their Japanese ancestry. As Americans, we must remember this chapter of oppression and ensure that we are vigilant in protecting the rights of all Americans and combating discrimination in any form.

In 1943 and 1944, the United States Supreme Court upheld the indefinite detention of Japanese American citizens in the Korematsu, Gordon Hirabayashi, and Minoru Yasui cases. Today, in an editorial, Karen Korematsu warned that the discriminatory treatment that her father and other Japanese Americans experienced during WWII “has extended to other communities, including Arab, Middle Eastern, and South Asian Americans.” She called the Supreme Court ruling in the Korematsu case an  “ominous shadow on Americans’ civil liberties in times of crisis, when our Constitution’s principles must hold their strongest.”

In March of 2014, ADC sent an official request to the Solicitor General  asking him to clarify that the Japanese internment cases cannot be used as valid precedent for the U.S. government or military detention of American citizens without due process.

ADC continues to urge the U.S. Solicitor General to repudiate the Japanese American internment cases of World War II and to ensure that these cases are not used to justify the detention of Arabs and Arab Americans without due process of law. By failing to repudiate interment policies, the U.S. Solicitor General not only denies closure to the victims of these policies in the Japanese American community, but also fails to declare, once and for all, that the xenophobia and racism the U.S. demonstrated out of fear in the 1940s, will not repeat itself today.

Is Korematsu Really Dead? By ADC’s Yolanda Rondon

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