March 01, 2017

Hirono Leads Resolution Commemorating 75th Anniversary of Japanese American Internment

Senator Mazie K. Hirono led a resolution marking the 75th anniversary of the issuance of Executive Order 9066, which led to the internment of more than 120,000 Japanese Americans during World War II. S.Res.70 affirms that policies that discriminate on the basis of actual or perceived race, ethnicity, national origin, or religion would repeat the mistakes of the internment.

“The President can continue to live in a world of alternative facts, but it’s clear that his administration’s policies harken back to the hateful rhetoric that led to the internment of Japanese Americans,” said Senator Hirono. “This internment of Japanese Americans was deeply wrong, and it set a precedent – that it should never happen again. We will resist any and all attempts that take us back to this dark era.”

S.Res.70 is cosponsored by Senators Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Tom Carper (D-Del.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Catherine Cortez-Masto (D-Nev.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Al Franken (D-Minn.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Christopher Van Hollen (D-Md.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.).

The resolution is supported by more than 30 organizations:

American Bar Association

American Civil Liberties Union

American Library Association

American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee

Association of Research Libraries

Bill of Rights Defense Committee/Defending Dissent Foundation

Center for Media and Democracy

Color of Change

Demand Progress

Democracy for America

Electronic Frontier Foundation

Franciscan Action Network

Fred T. Korematsu Institute

Free Press Action Fund

Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii

National Center for Transgender Equality

National Hispanic Media Coalition

National LGBTQ Task Force Action Fund

National Organization for Women

Niskanen Center

No More Guantanamos

People for the American Way

PEN America

T'ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights

The Constitution Project

Woodhull Freedom Foundation


Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii

National Asian Pacific American Bar Association

National Council of Asian Pacific Americans

Japanese American Citizens League

South Asian Americans Leading Together

Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund

Muslim Advocates,

Shoulder to Shoulder Campaign

Sikh Coalition

Council on American-Islamic Relations

“We stand with Senator Hirono and pledge our commitment to honor the memory of the Japanese Americans incarcerated from Hawai‘i simply because of their ancestry.  Whether our wartime imprisonment was a result of martial law or executive order, the government action was based upon ‘race prejudice, war hysteria, and a failure of political leadership.’  May we never repeat the mistakes of the past,” said Carole Hayashino, president and executive director, Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii.

"It has been 75 years since our nation succumbed to fear and shamefully incarcerated 120,000 Japanese Americans,” said National Council of Asian Pacific Americans (NCAPA) National Director Christopher Kang. “Today, as we sit at a similar precipice in history, we must not forgot the lessons of the past. We must continue to speak out and force our leaders to recognize the harms to our immigrant, refugee and Muslim communities from recent discriminatory policies and executive orders. We thank Senator Hirono for her leadership in introducing this important resolution so that this dark chapter of American history is not repeated.”

"As President Trump attempts to write anti-Muslim bigotry into law, we are reminded of another very dark time in our country's history when race was used as the basis to intern thousands of Japanese Americans,” said Madihha Ahussain, Muslim Advocates Staff Attorney and Head of Program to Counter Anti-Muslim Hate. “We cannot allow prejudice to divide our communities during this time of concern. We are proud to support Senator Hirono's resolution and thank her for her leadership in working to unite Americans."

Click here to download a copy of the resolution.