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Civil Liberties Act of 1988

Civil Liberties Act of 1988

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The Civil Liberties Act of 1988 is a United States federal law that granted reparations
Reparation (legal)
In jurisprudence, reparation is replenishment of a previously inflicted loss by the criminal to the victim. Monetary restitution is a common form of reparation...

 to Japanese-Americans who had been interned by the United States government
Japanese American internment
Japanese-American internment was the relocation and internment by the United States government in 1942 of approximately 110,000 Japanese Americans and Japanese who lived along the Pacific coast of the United States to camps called "War Relocation Camps," in the wake of Imperial Japan's attack on...

 during World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

. The act was sponsored by California
California
California is a state located on the West Coast of the United States. It is by far the most populous U.S. state, and the third-largest by land area...

's Democratic
Democratic Party (United States)
The Democratic Party is one of two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Republican Party. The party's socially liberal and progressive platform is largely considered center-left in the U.S. political spectrum. The party has the lengthiest record of continuous...

 Congressman Norman Mineta
Norman Mineta
Norman Yoshio Mineta, is a United States politician of the Democratic Party. Mineta most recently served in President George W. Bush's Cabinet as the United States Secretary of Transportation, the only Democratic Cabinet Secretary in the Bush administration...

, an internee as a child, and Wyoming
Wyoming
Wyoming is a state in the mountain region of the Western United States. The western two thirds of the state is covered mostly with the mountain ranges and rangelands in the foothills of the Eastern Rocky Mountains, while the eastern third of the state is high elevation prairie known as the High...

's Republican
Republican Party (United States)
The Republican Party is one of the two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Democratic Party. Founded by anti-slavery expansion activists in 1854, it is often called the GOP . The party's platform generally reflects American conservatism in the U.S...

 Senator Alan K. Simpson
Alan K. Simpson
Alan Kooi Simpson is an American politician who served from 1979 to 1997 as a United States Senator from Wyoming as a member of the Republican Party. His father, Milward L. Simpson, was also a member of the U.S...

, who first met Mineta while visiting an internment camp. The third co-sponsor was California Senator Pete Wilson
Pete Wilson
Peter Barton "Pete" Wilson is an American politician from California. Wilson, a Republican, served as the 36th Governor of California , the culmination of more than three decades in the public arena that included eight years as a United States Senator , eleven years as Mayor of San Diego and...

, seen in the picture to the right. 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
Ronald Reagan
Ronald Wilson Reagan was the 40th President of the United States , the 33rd Governor of California and, prior to that, a radio, film and television actor....

.

The act granted each surviving internee about US$20,000 in compensation, 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 genuine legitimacy.

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, regardless of whether, after the war, they remained in the United States, returned to Latin America, or were deported to Japan. 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. 145 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.

Japanese American internment



Japanese American internment was the forced removal and internment
Internment
Internment is the imprisonment or confinement of people, commonly in large groups, without trial. The Oxford English Dictionary gives the meaning as: "The action of 'interning'; confinement within the limits of a country or place." Most modern usage is about individuals, and there is a distinction...

 of approximately 120,000 Japanese
Japanese people
The are an ethnic group originating in the Japanese archipelago and are the predominant ethnic group of Japan. Worldwide, approximately 130 million people are of Japanese descent; of these, approximately 127 million are residents of Japan. People of Japanese ancestry who live in other countries...

 and Japanese American
Japanese American
are American people of Japanese heritage. Japanese Americans have historically been among the three largest Asian American communities, but in recent decades have become the sixth largest group at roughly 1,204,205, including those of mixed-race or mixed-ethnicity...

s (62% of whom were United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 citizens) from the West Coast of the United States
West Coast of the United States
West Coast or Pacific Coast are terms for the westernmost coastal states of the United States. The term most often refers to the states of California, Oregon, and Washington. Although not part of the contiguous United States, Alaska and Hawaii do border the Pacific Ocean but can't be included in...

 during World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

. While approximately 10,000 were able to relocate to other parts of the country of their own choosing, the remainder – roughly 110,000 men, women and children – were sent to hastily constructed camps called "War Relocation Centers" in remote portions of the nation's interior.

President Franklin Roosevelt authorized the internment with Executive Order 9066
Executive Order 9066
United States Executive Order 9066 was a United States presidential executive order signed and issued during World War II by U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt on February 19, 1942 authorizing the Secretary of War to prescribe certain areas as military zones...

, which allowed local military commanders to designate "military areas" as "exclusion zones", 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, including all of California and most of Oregon and Washington, except for those in internment camps. In 1944, the Supreme Court
Supreme Court of the United States
The Supreme Court of the United States is the highest court in the United States. It has ultimate appellate jurisdiction over all state and federal courts, and original jurisdiction over a small range of cases...

 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."

Some compensation for property losses was paid in 1948, but most internees were unable to fully recover their losses. In 1988, President Ronald Reagan
Ronald Reagan
Ronald Wilson Reagan was the 40th President of the United States , the 33rd Governor of California and, prior to that, a radio, film and television actor....

 signed legislation which apologized for the internment on behalf of the U.S. government. The legislation stated that government actions were based on "race prejudice, war hysteria, and a failure of political leadership", and beginning in 1990, the government paid reparations
Reparation (legal)
In jurisprudence, reparation is replenishment of a previously inflicted loss by the criminal to the victim. Monetary restitution is a common form of reparation...

 to surviving internees.

Civil Liberties Act of 1988


The Civil Liberties Act of 1988, "Restitution for World War II internment of Japanese-Americans and Aleuts," states that it is intended to:
  • acknowledge the fundamental injustice of the evacuation, relocation, and internment of United States citizens and permanent resident aliens of Japanese ancestry during World War II;
  • apologize on behalf of the people of the United States for the evacuation, relocation, and internment of such citizens and permanent resident aliens;
  • provide for a public education fund to finance efforts to inform the public about the internment of such individuals so as to prevent the recurrence of any similar event;
  • make restitution to those individuals of Japanese ancestry who were interned;
  • make restitution to Aleut residents of the Pribilof Islands and the Aleutian Islands west of Unimak Island, in settlement of United States obligations in equity and at law, for -
  • injustices suffered and unreasonable hardships endured while those Aleut residents were under United States control during World War II;
  • personal property taken or destroyed by United States forces during World War II;
  • community property, including community church property, taken or destroyed by United States forces during World War II; and
  • traditional village lands on Attu Island not rehabilitated after World War II for Aleut occupation or other productive use;
    • discourage the occurrence of similar injustices and violations of civil liberties in the future; and
    • make more credible and sincere any declaration of concern by the United States over violations of human rights committed by other nations.

Congressional support and opposition


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).

See also

  • Japanese American Citizens League
    Japanese American Citizens League
    The was formed in 1929 to protect the rights of Japanese Americans from the state and federal governments. It fought for civil rights for Japanese Americans, assisted those in internment camps during World War II, and led a successful campaign for redress for internment from the U.S...

  • Japanese American internment
    Japanese American internment
    Japanese-American internment was the relocation and internment by the United States government in 1942 of approximately 110,000 Japanese Americans and Japanese who lived along the Pacific coast of the United States to camps called "War Relocation Camps," in the wake of Imperial Japan's attack on...

  • Japanese American National Library
    Japanese American National Library
    The Japanese American National Library is a non-lending library and resource center in San Francisco's Japantown for the collection and preservation of materials relating to Japanese Americans...

  • Manzanar
    Manzanar
    Manzanar is most widely known as the site of one of ten camps where over 110,000 Japanese Americans were imprisoned during World War II. Located at the foot of the Sierra Nevada in California's Owens Valley between the towns of Lone Pine to the south and Independence to the north, it is...


External links