(Senate - February 24, 2016)

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[Pages S1001-S1003]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office []


  Ms. HIRONO (for herself, Mr. Reid, Mr. Durbin, Mr. Leahy, Ms. 
Baldwin, Mr. Brown, Mr. Blumenthal, Ms. Cantwell, Mrs. Feinstein, Mr. 
Franken, Mrs. Gillibrand, Ms. Klobuchar, Mrs. Murray, Mr. Peters, Mr. 
Schatz, Ms. Mikulski, Mr. Murphy, Mr. Markey, and Mr. Wyden) submitted 
the following resolution; which was referred to the Committee on the 

                              S. Res. 373

       Whereas on December 7, 1941, the Imperial Japanese Navy 
     launched a surprise attack against the United States naval 
     base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, which led to--
       (1) increased prejudice and suspicion toward Japanese 
     Americans; and
       (2) calls from civilians and public officials to remove 
     Japanese Americans from the west coast of the United States;
       Whereas on February 19, 1942, President Franklin Delano 
     Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066 (7 Fed. Reg. 1407; 
     relating to authorizing the Secretary of War to prescribe 
     military areas) (referred to in this preamble as ``Executive 
     Order 9066''), which led to--
       (1) the exclusion of 120,000 Japanese Americans and legal 
     resident aliens from the west coast of the United States; and
       (2) the incarceration of United States citizens and lawful 
     permanent residents of Japanese ancestry in incarceration 
     camps during World War II;
       Whereas President Gerald Ford formally rescinded Executive 
     Order 9066 in Presidential Proclamation 4417, dated February 
     19, 1976 (41 Fed. Reg. 7741) (referred to in this preamble as 
     ``Presidential Proclamation 4417'');
       Whereas Presidential Proclamation 4417--
       (1) states that Japanese Americans were and are loyal 
     people of the United States who have contributed to the well-
     being and security of the United States;
       (2) states that the issuance of Executive Order 9066 was a 
     grave mistake in United States history; and
       (3) resolves that actions such as the actions authorized by 
     Executive Order 9066 shall never happen again;
       Whereas in 1980, Congress established the Commission on 
     Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians to investigate 
     the circumstances surrounding the issuance of Executive Order 
       Whereas in 1983, the Commission on Wartime Relocation and 
     Internment of Civilians issued a report entitled ``Personal 
     Justice Denied'' in which the Commission on Wartime 
     Relocation and Internment of Civilians concluded that--
       (1) the promulgation of Executive Order 9066 was not 
     justified by military necessity; and
       (2) the decision to issue Executive Order 9066 was shaped 
     by ``race prejudice, war hysteria, and a failure of political 
       Whereas on August 10, 1988, the Civil Liberties Act of 1988 
     (Public Law 100-383; 102 Stat. 903) was enacted--
       (1) to apologize for ``fundamental violations of the basic 
     civil liberties and constitutional rights of these 
     individuals of Japanese ancestry''; and
       (2) to establish the Civil Liberties Public Education Fund, 
     to ensure that ``the events surrounding the exclusion, forced 
     removal, and incarceration of civilians and permanent 
     resident aliens of Japanese ancestry will be remembered, and 
     so that the causes and circumstances of this and similar 
     events may be illuminated and understood'';
       Whereas the terrorist attacks carried out in the United 
     States on September 11, 2001, have led to heightened levels 
     of suspicion and hate crimes, xenophobia, and bigotry 
     directed toward the Arab, Middle Eastern, South Asian, 
     Muslim, Sikh, and Hindu American communities, including--
       (1) on August 5, 2012, an attack on the Sikh Temple of 
     Wisconsin in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, which led to several 
     injuries and the death of 6 Sikh Americans; and
       (2) on February 10, 2015, the execution-style shooting of 3 
     Muslim American students in Chapel Hill, North Carolina;
       Whereas the terrorist attacks carried out in Paris, France, 
     on November 5, 2015, have led to renewed calls from public 
     officials and figures to register Muslim Americans and bar 
     millions from entering the United States based solely on the 
     religion of those individuals, repeating the mistakes of 
     1942: Now, therefore, be it
       Resolved, That the Senate--
       (1) recognizes the historical significance of February 19, 
     1942, as the date on which President Franklin Delano 
     Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066 (7 Fed. Reg. 1407; 
     relating to authorizing the Secretary of War to prescribe 
     military areas) (referred to in this resolving clause as 
     ``Executive Order 9066''), which restricted the freedom of 
     Japanese Americans;
       (2) recognizes the historical significance of February 19, 
     1976, as the date on which President Gerald Ford issued 
     Presidential Proclamation 4417 (41 Fed. Reg. 7741), which 
     formally terminated Executive Order 9066;
       (3) supports the goals of the Japanese American community 
     in recognizing a National Day of Remembrance to increase 
     public awareness about the unjust measures taken to restrict 
     the freedom of Japanese Americans during World War II;
       (4) expresses the sense that the National Day of 
     Remembrance is an opportunity--
       (A) to reflect on the importance of upholding justice and 
     civil liberties for all people of the United States; and
       (B) to oppose hate, xenophobia, and bigotry;
       (5) recognizes the positive contributions that people of 
     the United States of every race, ethnicity, religion, and 
     national origin have made to the United States;
       (6) steadfastly confirms the dedication of the Senate to 
     the rights and dignity of all people of the United States; 
       (7) expresses the sense that policies that discriminate 
     against any individual based on the actual or perceived race, 
     ethnicity, national origin, or religion of that individual 
     would be--
       (A) a repetition of the mistakes of Executive Order 9066; 
       (B) contrary to the values of the United States.

  Ms. HIRONO. Mr. President, 74 years ago, President Roosevelt signed 
Executive Order 9066. That order led to the mass internment of nearly 
120,000 Japanese Americans. Executive Order 9066 is an example of what 
can happen when a government acts out of fear.

[[Page S1002]]

  Today I am submitting a resolution that recognizes this dark chapter 
and calls for the Senate and all Americans to uphold the lessons 
learned from the issuance of Executive Order 9066.
  In the wake of the bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1941, Americans of 
Japanese ancestry living in the United States became a target of 
paranoia, suspicion, and fear. Without any evidence of subterfuge, the 
government classified Japanese Americans as ``enemy aliens'' based 
purely on race and removed Japanese families from the west coast in the 
name of national security. These were families like yours and mine--
farmers, students, shop owners, Buddhist priests, and teachers, parents 
and grandparents working toward the American dream of giving their 
children a better future. The majority were American citizens. These 
families were forced to abandon or sell for a pittance homes and 
businesses they had spent decades building. Many destroyed family 
treasures that could link them to Japan.
  Thousands of college students had their educations cut short when 
they were forced to leave school for the internment camps.
  One University of Washington student who was forced to leave school, 
Gordon Hirabayashi, would go on to challenge the legality of the 
internment all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. Gordon's parents had 
emigrated from Japan and settled in Washington State, where they were 
  Upon the signing of Executive Order 9066 and subsequent orders, the 
Hirabayashi family and tens of thousands of other Japanese American 
families were forced to pack up only what they could carry for a long 
train ride to unknown destinations. Upon arriving at barren and 
isolated internment camps, including Honouliuli Internment Camp in 
Waipahu, Oahu, these families passed through barbed-wire fences and 
armed guards. They settled in cramped, hastily constructed shanties 
that let in the elements. There was little privacy. And until these 
internment camps were built, many families were forced to live in horse 
stalls. The shame and humiliation were extreme. Nearly 120,000 men, 
women, and children did the best they could under harsh circumstances, 
persevering through what at the time seemed unbearable.
  Despite this treatment at the hands of their own government, the time 
came when many joined the war effort. From behind barbed wire, these 
young Japanese American men fought for their country and in the 
process, in doing so, proved their loyalty to the United States.
  The Army agreed to form the segregated 442nd Regimental Combat Team, 
the 100th Battalion, and the Military Intelligence Service. Thousands 
of men in Hawaii and across the internment camps, including our late 
colleague Senator Daniel K. Inouye, volunteered to take on the most 
dangerous missions in Europe. Today, the 442nd and the 100th Battalion 
remain the most decorated units in the Army's history. These units, as 
well as the Military Intelligence Service, were awarded the 
Congressional Gold Medal in 2011.
  After the war ended, for all of the sacrifice Japanese Americans were 
forced to make, for all they had to give up, each internee was then 
given $25 and a train ticket to their prewar residences. Many of them 
never returned to their homes because there was nothing to return to.
  It was not until 34 years later, due to the work of the Japanese 
American Citizens League and other individuals and groups, that 
President Gerald Ford issued Proclamation 1447, which formally 
terminated the authority of Executive Order 9066. The Ford proclamation 
read, in part, ``I call upon the American people to affirm with me this 
American Promise . . . to treasure liberty and justice for each 
individual American, and resolve that this kind of action shall never 
again be repeated.''
  While the internment is now recognized as one of the darkest periods 
in our Nation's history, we must not forget that Executive Order 9066 
had widespread support at the time. The fight for formal recognition of 
these injustices has been a long and challenging road that continues to 
this day.
  I wish to recognize the efforts of three Japanese Americans--Gordon 
Hirabayashi, Minoru Yasui, and Fred Korematsu--who were convicted and 
imprisoned while bravely challenging the constitutionality of 
internment during the war. They were right, but it took decades of work 
to achieve justice for these individuals who took their cases all the 
way to the Supreme Court.
  In the majority opinion of Korematsu v. U.S. in 1944, the Supreme 
Court found that the internment was justified during a time of war--a 
ruling that further underscores what can only be characterized as the 
rampant fear and racism at the time.
  I had the privilege of meeting Fred Korematsu and his family several 
times before his passing in 2005. After the war, he, Gordon, and Minoru 
continued to fight for others' civil rights their whole lives. Fred's 
work is carried on by his daughter, Karen Korematsu, through the 
Korematsu Institute. These three individuals were years later awarded 
the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and in Minoru Yasui's case, only 
last year.
  It was not until the 1980s--almost 40 years after internment ended--
that a new generation of attorneys and scholars took up their fight. 
They uncovered evidence that the government hid information that proved 
that Japanese Americans were not a threat to the United States. Gordon, 
Minoru, and Fred appealed their earlier convictions, and the Ninth 
Circuit Court vacated all of their convictions in the 1980s.
  Gordon said after the Ninth Circuit overturned his earlier 

       There was a time when I felt that the Constitution failed 
     me. But with the reversal in the courts and in public 
     statements from the government, I feel that our country has 
     proven that the Constitution is worth upholding. The U.S. 
     Government admitted it made a mistake. A country that can do 
     that is a strong country. I have more faith and allegiance to 
     the Constitution than I ever had before.

  Today, I call upon all of my colleagues to uphold Gordon's faith in 
our Constitution.
  Undoubtedly, the U.S. Government must keep people safe. However, as 
we learned with the internment, a government gripped by fear and 
hysteria can make terrible mistakes. Not one American of Japanese 
ancestry who was interned has ever been found guilty of sabotage or 
  Focusing on the most vulnerable of targets--usually a minority 
group--does not make our Nation safe or more secure. Actions like the 
internment betray our values and undermine our strength as a people.
  We are often reminded to learn from history. That presumes we are 
aware of the relevant history. The story of internment remains one 
still unfamiliar to many Americans--for instance, Mayor David Bowers of 
Roanoke, VA, who used the internment as justification to suspend 
assistance to Syrian refugees. He later apologized. More recently, 
George Takei's play ``Allegiance,'' which just ended its Broadway run, 
depicted the shock, humiliation, anger, and resolve of one family--the 
Kimuras--who were interned in Heart Mountain, WY. Their internment was 
like that of thousands of other Japanese Americans, and, like too many 
others, the internment didn't end for the Kimuras when World War II 
ended. Their family relations were irreparably damaged.
  Yet, despite efforts to educate a new generation of Americans through 
efforts like ``Allegiance,'' today we hear echoes of the sentiments of 
1942 directed toward members of the South Asian, Muslim, Sikh, Hindu, 
Arab, and Middle Eastern communities. There are reports of children 
from these communities beaten up in schools, families being threatened 
in their homes, and houses of worship vandalized and set on fire. We 
hear calls from public figures and officials to racially profile and 
conduct surveillance on Muslim Americans, as well as to bar their entry 
into our country.
  While the security of the American people is a top priority, divisive 
proposals to ban all Muslims, for example, from entering the United 
States do nothing to make us safer; rather, they take us back to a time 
when our policies were guided by fear, stereotypes, and mistrust.
  Now is not the time to turn on one another. Now is the time to stand 
together against the hate and fear that divides our country.
  In affirming our commitment to liberty and justice for all, let us 
remember that the United States is a diverse

[[Page S1003]]

country in which individuals of all backgrounds have and continue to 
make positive contributions to the well-being and security of our 
Nation. It is important to speak out against hateful rhetoric and 
divisive policy proposals that prey on people's fears and instead 
promote our American values that are rooted in compassion, respect for 
others, justice, and equality.
  I am joined today in the Gallery by advocates from the Asian American 
and Pacific Islander and Muslim communities. Mahalo to all of you for 
the work you do every day to advance equality, liberty, and justice for 
all. These values are the strength of America.
  Let's stand together in solidarity, that in this new century, we will 
not give in to old fears, old prejudices, and unjustified actions.