Washington, D.C. (Feb. 17, 2017) — Sunday, Feb. 19, 2017 marks the 75th anniversary of the signing of Executive Order 9066, which authorized the incarceration of over 120,000 individuals of Japanese ancestry during World War II.
Members of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC) and Congressional leaders released the following statements in observance of the Day of Remembrance:
Congresswoman Judy Chu (CA-27), CAPAC Chair:
“Seventy-five years ago, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, which led to the incarceration of over 120,000 individuals based solely on their Japanese ancestry. Wartime hysteria, prejudice, and a lack of political leadership led to one of the most shameful periods in our nation’s history, where American citizens were targeted based solely on their ethnicity and stripped of their basic civil rights without any due process. These violations were so unconscionable that Congress later apologized for it. But sadly, there are new demagogues who want to repeat this dark chapter.
“Seventy-five years later, we once again have a President signing Executive Orders steeped in xenophobia and racism. Even worse, there are now individuals who have gone so far as to cite Japanese American internment as a precedent for these actions. This is unacceptable. So as we observe this year’s Day of Remembrance, let us recommit ourselves to rejecting prejudice and protecting the civil liberties of all Americans. We will not allow history to repeat itself.”
Congresswoman Madeleine Bordallo (GU), CAPAC Vice Chair:
“As we commemorate the Day of Remembrance for Japanese internment, we recall an unfortunate part of our nation’s history and the unjust experience of Japanese Americans during World War II. We must continue to work together as a country conscious of our past and working towards progress. I am proud of the invaluable contributions of the Japanese Americans to our country and honored to represent a community of Pacific Islanders and Asian Americans who all work hard to uphold the values and morals of our country.”
Congressman Ted Lieu (CA-33), CAPAC Whip:
“Today, we mark the 75th Anniversary of Executive Order 9066 which authorized the incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II. In the aftermath of Pearl Harbor, over 100,000 Japanese Americans were ripped from their lives and property and put into internment camps. While the U.S. government at the time professed it was to protect the nation from insider threats and potential espionage, Japanese Americans were targeted because of their ethnicity. Today, we are once again reminded that history must never repeat itself. We must stand firm against bigotry and hatred and ensure that all Americans are accorded their due rights.”
HOUSE DEMOCRATIC LEADERSHIP
Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (CA-12):
“Seventy-five years ago, an immoral Executive Order upended the lives of thousands upon thousands of Japanese Americans and violated core American values. At this moment in our history, all Americans must learn from the injustices and failures of the past to create a stronger future for all. On this Day of Remembrance, let us honor the legacy of proud Americans like Fred Korematsu, who acted to bridge the gap between our ideals and the experiences of American families, by confronting injustice, xenophobia, and bigotry in our own time.”
Congressman Joe Crowley (NY-14), Chair of the House Democratic Caucus:
“Today, as we reflect upon the internment of more than 120,000 Japanese Americans during World War II, we must recommit ourselves to ensuring such injustices never happen again. Everyone suffers when the civil liberties of any group are violated. That’s why we must use this day to remember, to raise awareness, and to continue to protect the fundamental rights and liberties of all Americans.”
Senator Mazie K. Hirono (HI):
“The internment of Japanese Americans during World War II remains a dark period in our nation’s history. Whenever our country has targeted a particular ethnicity, race, national origin, or religion for discriminatory treatment, we have been very deeply wrong. But today, we are seeing the same discriminatory treatment with President Trump’s targeting of refugees, immigrants, and the Muslim community. I will continue to fight these actions, and will reintroduce a resolution in the Senate recognizing the significance of Executive Order 9066, and affirming that we must stand up for the civil rights of all.”
Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) is an original cosponsor of H.Res.143 recognizing the ideals of the Day of Remembrance, and to remember the restrictions, exclusion, and incarceration of Americans of Japanese, German, and Italian descent during World War II.
“The internment of tens of thousands of Japanese Americans during World War II is a dark and shameful mark on our nation’s past,” Gabbard said. “In remembrance of the men, women, and children held captive on our free soil, we must commit to standing up against intolerance, bigotry, divisiveness, and hatred. We must honor the brave Nisei, who in spite of these atrocities, volunteered to serve, forming the Nisei-only “Go For Broke” 442nd Infantry Regiment. We must embrace the diversity found at the heart of our American spirit, and promise to never return to the darkness of our past.”
Congressman Al Green (TX-09):
“This Day of Remembrance for Japanese Internment, we mark the 75th anniversary of the ignoble, invidious internment of Japanese-American citizens. While a great many people of good will view this as a shameful time in our nation’s history, there are some in power who see it as a precedent for their own invidious, ignoble ideas. Clearly we must not rest until these shameful ideas based on invidious discrimination and bigotry are truly relegated to the ash heap of history.”
Congresswoman Colleen Hanabusa (HI-01):
“75 years ago, Executive Order 9066 was signed and cleared the way for the forced incarceration of over 120,000 Japanese Americans, including both of my grandfathers. This day should serve as a reminder to all Americans, the importance of civil liberties, tolerance and due process, so that mistakes of the past are not repeated. We must continue to stand strong against discrimination, resist xenophobia, and embrace all who live as Americans.”
Congresswoman Barbara Lee (CA-13):
“On the Day of Remembrance for Japanese Internment, we reflect on one of the darkest chapters in American history. 75 years ago today, President Franklin Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066 to wrongfully imprison over 120,000 Japanese Americans. I join my diverse East Bay community in observing this day of remembrance and pledging to fight back against policies based in prejudice and xenophobia. As we remember those who suffered in internment camps, I am saddened and disturbed by President Trump’s dangerous actions targeting immigrants and refugees. The President’s illegal and immoral executive orders draw historic parallels to the cruel treatment of Japanese Americans during World War II. I urge people across the country to stand against racial prejudice in every form and proclaim in one voice: Never Again.”
Congresswoman Doris Matsui (CA-06):
“As we reflect on this anniversary, we must do so with the understanding that history is not static. Seventy-five years ago, Japanese American citizens faced an unimaginable injustice, forced into internment by their own country. Our nation was united in righting this wrong with the passage of the Civil Liberties Act almost 30 years ago. But the mistakes of our past must never be forgotten or normalized. We remain committed to ensuring history does not repeat itself, and vigilant in our defense of justice for all.”
Congresswoman Grace Meng (NY-06):
“The internment of Japanese Americans was a horrible and dark period in our nation’s history and today we remember the more than 120,000 Japanese Americans who were forced to endure this terrible injustice. As we mark this year’s Day of Remembrance, we must ensure that our nation learns from this shameful mistake, and that this type of prejudice and hysteria is never allowed to occur again. We must keep the lesson we’ve learned at the forefront of our fight against the President’s travel ban.”
Congressman Mark Takano (CA-41):
“During World War II, my parents and grandparents were denied their civil liberties and incarcerated in prison camps. Although our country has since apologized for the injustices they – and others of Japanese background – faced during that time, this government has been affected by a collective amnesia around what happens when we allow fear and discrimination to dictate policy. This year, communities nationwide will commemorate the Day of Remembrance in observance of wartime injustices as they have for many years. And, this year, it is even more important that Congress does the same as we fight the Administration’s discriminatory and divisive policy agenda.”
Congressman Adam Smith (WA-09):
“On this Day of Remembrance, as we reflect on the experiences of Japanese Americans during World War II, we recognize the true price of fear and hysteria. Seventy-five years ago, after Executive Order 9066, over 120,000 Japanese Americans were uprooted and incarcerated for no reason other than their racial heritage. Today, we must shine a bright light on this dark chapter of our history so that we never forget the danger of hateful rhetoric and unfounded fear. We must continue to fight for civil rights and liberty for all Americas.”
The Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC) is comprised of Members of Congress of Asian and Pacific Islander descent and Members who have a strong dedication to promoting the well-being of the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community. Currently chaired by Congresswoman Judy Chu, CAPAC has been addressing the needs of the AAPI community in all areas of American life since it was founded in 1994.