CAPAC Members Observe Day of Remembrance for Japanese Incarceration

Feb 18, 2019

WASHINGTON, D.C. – February 19, 2019 marks the 77th 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) released the following statements in observance of the Day of Remembrance:

Congresswoman Judy Chu (CA-27), CAPAC Chair:

“On February 19, 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, leading to one of the most shameful periods in our nation’s history. As a result, over 120,000 individuals of Japanese ancestry were rounded up, incarcerated in desolate internment camps, and stripped of their basic civil liberties simply because of their ethnicity. It was an act so unconscionable and un-American that Congress later apologized and provided reparations for it. Nearly eight decades later, we must continue to remain vigilant in speaking out against injustice wherever it occurs – whether in the form of anti-Muslim bigotry or the targeting of immigrant communities. We must not allow history to repeat itself. So, as we observe this Day of Remembrance, let us recommit ourselves to denouncing prejudice and protecting the civil liberties of all Americans.”

Congresswoman Grace Meng (NY-06), CAPAC First Vice Chair:

“Today, we reflect and remember the unjust incarceration of over 120,000 Japanese Americans during World War II. Through a single executive order, thousands of lives were uprooted and misjudged. We must learn from this terrible mistake and work together to ensure that prejudice and exploitation of power by the President does not repeat itself. As we commemorate this Day of Remembrance, we are reminded again to never let fear guide our policies.”

Congressman Mark Takano (CA-41), CAPAC Second Vice Chair:

“What 115,000 Japanese Americans, including my parents and grandparents, underwent during World War II will go down in history as of one of our country’s greatest moral failures. On this Day of Remembrance, it is our responsibility to look back on our history, to learn from it, and to prevent anything like Japanese American internment from ever happening again. In honor of Fred Korematsu, the civil rights hero who stood up against the unjust American policy of internment, and former Congressman Mark Takai, I have introduced the Korematsu-Takai Civil Liberties Act. This legislation will help ensure that no policies rooted in hate and fearmongering will ever target Americans based on their identities.”

Congressman Ted Lieu (CA-33), CAPAC Whip:

“Today marks the 77th Anniversary of Executive Order 9066, which led to the unjust incarceration of over 120,000 Japanese individuals. As we spend this Day of Remembrance reflecting on one of the darkest moments in American history, it is crucial that we remember the importance of denouncing xenophobia and bigotry. We must remember this painful part of our history and commit ourselves to preventing this type of injustice from ever happening again.”

Congressman Ed Case (HI-01):

“Today we not only remember one of the darkest chapters in our country’s history. A chapter in which leaders thinking they were doing right by our country did exactly wrong by our constitution and people. A chapter which spared no part of our country including my home state of Hawai’i where, despite generations of loyal and constructive contribution, hundreds of Japanese Americans were interned at Honouliuli, an only recently rediscovered chapter in our own history now memorialized as a national monument. But we also reflect on the harsh lessons of that chapter and recommit ourselves to never repeating it.”

Congressman Gil Cisneros (CA-39): 

“During World War II our country wrongfully forced the internment of tens of thousands of Japanese Americans. We must never again allow fear to compromise our values and dictate our actions at the cost of civil liberties. We cannot let history repeat itself. I am proud to represent a district that is home to many Asian American and Pacific Islander residents, and I promise to always work in Congress to promote and advocate for the well-being of our communities.”

Congressman Al Green (TX-09):

“Today marks the 77th anniversary of Executive Order 9066, which authorized the relocation and internment of Japanese Americans during World War II. On this Day of Remembrance for Japanese Internment, we must commit ourselves to thwarting any executive, judicial, or legislative action that would resemble or promote such invidious discrimination in our country.”

Congresswoman Barbara Lee (CA-13):

“On this Day of Remembrance commemorating the incarceration of Japanese Americans, we reflect on one of the darkest chapters in our history. 77 years ago today, President Franklin Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066 to wrongfully imprison over 120,000 Americans. I join my diverse East Bay community in observing this day of remembrance and pledging to fight back against policies based in racism and xenophobia. As we remember those who suffered in internment camps, I am saddened and disturbed by President Trump’s cruel policies targeting refugees and separating immigrant families. 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):

“It is important to take this moment to reflect on the Day of Remembrance. Let it serve as a reminder to the unjust incarceration of Japanese American citizens. It is a stain on our history, and we must never let this injustice be forgotten or allowed to repeat itself. It is the responsibility of every American citizen to continue to defend and uphold the freedom, liberty and justice afforded to all in this country.”

Congressman Michael San Nicolas (GU):

“The internment of Japanese-Americans during WWII, a government policy based on ‘race prejudice, war hysteria, and a failure of political leadership,’ remains a blot on American history. As Americans, we must never forget this episode and vow never again to tolerate any form of racism, prejudice, or xenophobia. On this day, we remind ourselves to be thankful for the sacrifices and contributions of Japanese- Americans, Pacific Islanders, and our Asian-American communities. And we must never cease working together to make America a home that all can be proud of.”

Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici (OR-01):

“The unjust internment of 120,000 Japanese Americans is a blight on our nation’s history. Oregonians like Minoru Yasui courageously protested this injustice and called on future generations to make certain that this never happens again. Tragically, history is repeating itself as this Administration tears immigrant families apart and locks up children in desert camps. We must finally learn that cruelty cannot be tolerated, and we must refuse to allow racism to divide us. On this day of remembrance, I stand with our Japanese American neighbors and friends in the continued struggle toward justice for all.”

Congressman Scott Peters (CA-52):

“Nearly 70 years ago, the United States allowed fear to overtake our values when we began the policy of Japanese Internment during World War II. It ushered in one of the darkest times in our history at the expense of 120,000 friends and neighbors who lost their homes, jobs, and the basic respect that all Americans deserve. We must not allow history to repeat itself. Divisive rhetoric and policies are still targeted at immigrants. Today should serve as a grim reminder that we must stand against xenophobia and fear, wherever it may be.”

Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard (CA-40):

“77 years ago, the signing of Executive Order 9066 led to the incarceration of more than 120,000 Japanese Americans  – men, women, and children deprived of their liberty, livelihoods, and property for no reason except their ancestry. On this Day of Remembrance of Japanese incarceration, we reflect on the injustice and inhumanity of this shameful chapter in our history, and we renew our commitment to protecting the rights and freedoms of all Americans.”

Congressman Adam Smith (WA-09):

“The internment of Japanese citizens during the World War II was a dark chapter in our nation’s history. The Day of Remembrance reminds us to acknowledge the mistreatment of Japanese Americans, and to ensure that we, as a nation, learn from our past mistakes. Unfortunately, we are seeing the unjust treatment of immigrants and refugees with the discriminatory actions of our President through decisions like the Muslim Ban and the insistent requests for funds to build a wall along our southern border. We must remember to confront the xenophobia present in our nation and stand together against discrimination.”

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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.