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Civil Liberties Act of 1988, August 11, 1988

Following its commission’s recommendation in Personal Justice Denied, Congress passed the Civil Liberties Act of 1988 to authorize restitution to former internees. Acting upon another recommendation of the commission, President George H. W. Bush apologized to the internees on behalf of the United States government in 1989.

General Records of the U.S. Government, National Archives and Records Administration

Civil Liberties Act of 1988, August 11, 1988

Wartime Internment of Civilians

In February 1942, two months after Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued an executive order authorizing the evacuation and internment of Japanese Americans residing in the western United States and Hawaii. Congress legislated to implement the relocation of approximately 120,000 Japanese Americans to remote camps for the duration of World War II, resulting in tremendous loss of property and rights. In 1980 Congress established the Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians, which recommended that restitution be made to former internees. In 1989 the U.S. government issued them a formal apology.

The promulgation of Executive Order 9066 was not justified by military necessity. . . . A grave injustice was done to American citizens and resident aliens of Japanese ancestry who, without individual review or any probative evidence against them, were excluded, removed and detained by the United States during World War II.

Personal Justice Denied, Part 2: Recommendations, 1982