Long Road to Redress
Comprehensive legislation apologizing for internment and compensating its victims had to wait for more than a generation after World War II until a phalanx of influential nikkei Members of Congress drew attention to the issue. The effort involved pushing back against Cold War–era legislative initiatives that again gave the U.S. government worrisome detention powers while raising awareness about Asian-American experiences and their contributions to U.S. society. This remained a particularly Japanese-American burden, but the community sought to make this a fully American issue—one that required constant education and vigilance. Whether the issue was repealing dangerous laws or providing monetary compensation to detainees, Congress remained a central stage in the redress debates.
When the Roosevelt administration began its internment policy during World War II, thousands of Japanese-American families had little time to arrange their affairs and pack the few things permitted them in the camps. The evacuation was hurried and chaotic. Bank accounts were frozen. Businesses were shuttered. Homes, automobiles, furniture, land, clothes, utensils—all the trappings of everyday life—were abandoned. The cost was staggering. The economic losses to thousands of U.S. citizens and the congressional decision to codify the nikkei evacuation and internment into law cast a long and dark shadow over the APA experience for decades afterward.
The first stirrings of ameliorative action began even as the war drew to a close, though not in the form of monetary reparations. During internment, some nisei men held in the more repressive camps renounced their U.S. citizenship. Some did so out of protest, but others feared the government would deport their immigrant parents (who, by federal law, had been prevented from becoming U.S. citizens) back to Japan after the war and, by giving up their citizenship, the nisei could return to Japan to care for them. Uncertain as to the legal precedent in order to renounce one’s citizenship, the federal government looked for a way to manage such “disloyal” internees.141 Working with Congress, the Justice Department crafted a first-of-its-kind policy enabling native-born Americans to renounce their U.S. citizenship. At the time, no such mechanism existed. But the proposed measure allowed the government to retain control over “disloyal” prisoners who voluntarily gave up their citizenship before deporting them to Japan. It became law in July 1944 as an amendment to the Nationality Act of 1940.142
Even as Japanese-American detainees were being released from other camps, the WRA turned Tule Lake into a high-security segregation center to hold the roughly 5,500 nisei who had either failed the loyalty questionnaire or who sought to go to Japan.143 More than 1,300 of these “Native American Aliens” were deported. By the end of the war, however, virtually all renunciants and deportees fought to have their citizenship restored despite opposition from the Justice Department. Wayne Collins, a civil liberties lawyer, defended many nisei, arguing that they had given up their citizenship under duress or coercion. Some blamed the military and the WRA, but the greatest pressure to renounce came from other militant detainees. By 1959, all renunciants who had applied, both those looking to return from Japan and those in the United States under threat of deportation, had regained their citizenship.144
Slowly and incrementally, wartime restrictions also were rolled back. In 1945, four years after the federal government seized the banks, financial records, and assets of Japanese Americans using the Trading with the Enemy Act, Congress voted to unfreeze their money and set aside as much as $10 million in refunds. But because the Office of Alien Property Custodian offered low exchange rates and erected additional hurdles, less than half of the 7,500 Japanese-American depositors redeemed their certificates. More than two decades passed before the U.S. Supreme Court in Honda v. Clark forced the custodian to meet all outstanding claims in full.145
In 1952 Congress tackled another lingering injustice from the war when it restored seniority benefits to all nisei federal employees who had been evacuated. Introduced by Representative George P. Miller of California, the bill expanded a previous law that restored seniority benefits to nisei postal workers.146
Addressing the far larger injustice of uprooting and incarcerating an entire ethnic group, however, remained an unresolved issue for decades. After the war, former Japanese-American inmates from seven WRA internment camps met in Salt Lake City, Utah, to outline a policy seeking compensation. The delegates settled on reparations: direct payments from the federal government for losses incurred during the forced evacuation.147
When Republicans took over both chambers in the 80th Congress (1947–1949), the political atmosphere on the Hill warmed to reparations, but hurdles remained. Calculating the cost and verifying property-loss claims proved to be challenging because few records had been kept. Despite some initial help from the WRA, the whole situation was “complicated … by difficulties in communication with absent owners and local prejudice,” the Interior Secretary said in a letter to House Speaker Joe Martin of Massachusetts.148
Congressional deliberations also trod carefully around the evacuation’s legality. In 1947 the House Judiciary Committee admitted that no one sent to the camps had been guilty of sabotaging America, but the committee nevertheless justified internment as a “military necessity.”149 Even still, the House clearly viewed the evacuees as victims of government overreach. The internees were loyal Americans, the committee wrote and “to redress them would be simple justice.” To not do so, the committee believed, would feed into the global communist propaganda criticizing America’s civil rights record.150
In a message to Congress in February 1948, President Truman reminded the country that more than 100,000 Japanese Americans had been removed from their homes “solely because of their racial origin.”151 Five months later, on July 2, 1948, Truman signed the Japanese-American Evacuation Claims Act into law, but it had limited impact. The legislation covered only “real or personal property” damaged or lost during the evacuation or during internment. Left unaddressed were the unknown costs associated with the stigma of incarceration, the psychological damage, lost earnings, injury or death, and resettlement. The Justice Department struggled to process the 26,000 claims totaling $148 million. In the end, the government awarded just $37 million. In order to keep up with the claims, Congress amended and extended the act, settling the last claim in 1965.152
While addressing old injustices, APA advocates in Congress kept a close eye on new legislative efforts that threatened to undermine their constituents’ rights. In the late 1960s, the House Un-American Activities Committee lobbied to use the Emergency Detention Act—Title II of the Internal Security Act of 1950—to clamp down on urban riots and student protests. Title II gave the government broad authority to detain suspected communists and other subversives, and the threat of arbitrary arrests, violations of free speech, racism, and internment unsettled many Americans, among them the Japanese-American community that still held painful memories of wartime incarceration.153
In response, Hawaii’s Senator Inouye submitted a bill to repeal the Emergency Detention Act in the 91st Congress (1969–1971); Representative Matsunaga cosponsored another measure in the House. During debate, Inouye argued that the government’s arrest powers terrified those “who are by birth or choice not ‘in tune’ or ‘in line’ with the rest of the country.”154 In the following Congress, Matsunaga and Chet Holifield of California sponsored legislation to completely repeal Title II, overriding weaker attempts to simply revise it. Matsunaga used his position on the Rules Committee to prioritize his bill (H.R. 234), casting Title II as a hangover from a darker era, out of place in a changing America. “This is an attempt to erase … the last vestige of any authority to incarcerate people because they are related to people who are at war with us,” Speaker Carl Albert said plainly. H.R. 234 overwhelmingly passed the House, 356 to 49.155 The Senate passed the bill by voice vote. On September 25, 1971, President Richard M. Nixon signed the repeal of the Emergency Detention Act into law.156
In the aftermath of internment, a long, stunned silence came over those in the Japanese-American community directly affected by the program. After years of carving out a life in the United States, the trauma of losing a business or a home, of being shipped off to remote camps, of being labeled an enemy, weighed heavily among the issei and nisei. Historian Roger Daniels, then a professor at the University of California, Los Angeles, once told the story of having sansei (the American-born grandchildren of issei) students in class who insisted they had been born in Los Angeles in 1943. Given the circumstances, Daniels knew they could have been born only in one of the camps and that their parents never told them about the experience.157
By the 1970s, many of the older camp inmates had died or become infirm and leadership had passed to the nisei. The younger generation began to process the trauma, drawing inspiration from both the civil rights movement and peace protests. They organized the first visit to Manzanar in late 1969, which sparked annual pilgrimages to other camp sites.158
These grassroots efforts helped nudge the nation in its bicentennial year toward reconsidering this troubling aspect of its past. In 1976, on the 34th anniversary of FDR’s Executive Order 9066, President Gerald R. Ford signed Proclamation 4417, “An American Promise,” which formally ended the relocation program that had remained on the books years after its directives had been abandoned.159 “We now know what we should have known then—not only was that evacuation wrong but Japanese-Americans were and are loyal Americans,” Ford said. “On the battlefield and at home the names of Japanese- Americans have been and continue to be written in America’s history for the sacrifices and the contributions they have made to the well-being and to the security of this, our common Nation.”160 The symbolic and often overlooked proclamation served as one of the earliest official statements denouncing the evacuation and internment program.
Ford’s statement endorsed remembrance, that by commemorating the event, the sites, and the people, the country could avoid such an unworthy act in the future. This process played out over several decades. By 1980 at least two of the war relocation camps were listed on the National Register of Historic Places: Manzanar in California and Minidoka in Utah. In the 1990s, the effort to raise awareness about the history of internment gained momentum. During the 102nd Congress (1991–1993), the Manzanar War Relocation Center was designated a national historic site. In 1992 the Rohwer Relocation Center Memorial Cemetery gained designation as a national historic landmark while Congress authorized a National Japanese American Memorial to be built with private funds in Washington, DC. “The lessons learned,” Senator Inouye said about the memorial that opened in 2001, “must remain as a grave reminder of what we must not allow to happen again to any group.”161
Reacting to a National Park Service report about the condition of the internment camps in the West, President William J. (Bill) Clinton directed Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt to provide recommendations for the preservation of these sites.162 Just days before he left office, President Clinton issued Proclamation 7395 to establish the Minidoka Internment National Monument in Utah.163 Meanwhile, Congress passed legislation in the 1990s and early 2000s that added the Granada War Relocation Center to the National Register, appropriated funds for a visitor center at Manzanar, and authorized the study of a memorial on Bainbridge Island, where the first nikkei were evacuated in 1942. Toward the end of 2006, President George W. Bush signed into law legislation authorizing $38 million toward the preservation of Japanese- American confinement sites.164
These and other efforts helped Americans to contextualize the experiences of the issei and the nisei during World War II. These efforts also promised to bring the stories of internment to a substantially broader audience.
By the late 1970s, momentum had also started for the commemorative annual recognition of Asian-American heritage. Representative Mineta and New York Representative Frank Horton cosponsored a resolution to set aside one week every year to celebrate the diverse heritage of APAs. Supported by a national coalition of civic groups, including the Organization of Chinese Americans and the JACL, the bill passed the full House in July 1978, 360 to 6, and the Senate passed it two months later.165 President Carter declared that the first annual Asian Pacific American Heritage Week would take place in May 1979.166 Congress later expanded the commemoration period and passed H.R. 3802 on May 3, 1990.167 When he signed the act into law, President George H. W. Bush proclaimed the month of May as the annual Asian Pacific American Heritage Month.168
Efforts at remembrance reinforced the belief that the federal government should act substantively on the legacy of internment before the older generation of Japanese Americans passed from the scene. At the JACL national convention in 1970, a Manzanar pilgrimage organizer, Edison Uno, introduced a resolution calling for reparations to the victims or heirs of “the worst mistakes of World War II.” Although the National Council for Japanese American Redress (NCJAR), an offshoot of the JACL, adopted the resolution, it did not follow through.169 The idea took root, nonetheless. On June 28, 1974, Representative George E. Danielson of California introduced a bill to establish a relocation benefits commission to help victims of the internment camps get financial relief.170
Spurred to act as more and more issei victims died without seeing government action, the JACL adopted a resolution calling for $25,000 reparation payments to victims of the evacuation or their heirs and established the National Committee for Redress (NCR), headed by John Tateishi. Not everyone agreed, however. The keynote speaker of the 1978 JACL national meeting, Senator Samuel Ichiye (Sam) Hayakawa of California, later dismissed the proposal as “ridiculous.” Hayakawa added, “For the JACL to ask for the restitution is merely the rekindling of resentment and racism that no longer exists.”171
In early February 1979, the JACL president, Clifford Uyeda, along with Tateishi and his NCJAR colleagues arranged to meet with the four Democratic nikkei Members of Congress: California Representatives Matsui and Mineta and Hawaiian Senators Inouye and Matsunaga. Inouye and Matsunaga had served in the 442nd Regimental Combat Team and the 100th Infantry Battalion, respectively; Mineta and Matsui had been inmates at Heart Mountain and Tule Lake concentration camps, respectively.172
Neither Tateishi nor the JACL leadership had consulted the Congressmen about their redress proposal and simply assumed they would have their support. Inouye provided them with a hard lesson in congressional relations. “I said I think it is premature,” Inouye recalled. “I don’t think it will fly.” The shock was palpable. “They were hoping that all of us would come in flags waving and say let’s make the charge up the hill,” he added. “I think for a moment they were ready to take away my membership card.”173 From the Congressmen’s perspective, the proposal threatened to become a divisive issue. As Mineta’s legislative director pointed out, the nikkei legislators had “spent their whole lives trying to be seen not as Japanese Americans, but as just plain old Americans.” Instead, Inouye asked the NCR to think about a blue-ribbon commission to study the wartime relocation and internment of Japanese Americans.174
By and large, the JACL supported Inouye’s commission, but the activists remained keenly aware that this decision would delay any action on redress even as the issei generation continued to disappear. On August 2, 1979, Senator Inouye introduced S. 1647, the Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians (CWRIC) Act. When Republican Senate Minority Whip Ted Stevens of Alaska approached Inouye about adding Aleutian and Pribilof Islanders, who had also been evacuated, to the commission bill, Inouye, a longtime friend of Stevens, gladly made the addition. This ensured the support of Alaska’s delegation and protected the bill from accusations that it benefited special interests. On the whole, the bill’s language focused on fact-finding: How was Executive Order 9066 implemented? What was its impact on U.S. citizens and resident aliens? How did the military decide on evacuation and relocation? By emphasizing this approach, Inouye and Matsunaga convinced Hayakawa to cosponsor the bill to maintain a bipartisan and unified nikkei front.175
In the House, Mineta, who had spent part of his childhood in the Heart Mountain internment camp, could not bring himself to introduce the companion bill, H.R. 5499. It was too personal. But he remembered that Majority Leader Jim Wright of Texas had once told him how outraged he was when the Supreme Court justified the camps and, when asked, the Texan readily introduced the bill with 147 cosponsors on September 28, 1979.176
In the Senate, Inouye managed the bill. The Governmental Affairs Committee held hearings on the legislation on March 18, 1980, and featured supportive testimony from the JACL, nikkei Congressmen, and from Clarence M. Mitchell of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights. On the other hand, the NCJAR opposed it for being too timid, instead preferring a bill that would have directly required monetary reparations and an apology. In the end, the committee reported Inouye’s commission bill favorably, and on May 22, it passed the full Senate by voice vote.177
Two weeks later, the House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Administrative Law and Governmental Relations held hearings on Inouye’s bill (S. 1647), on the Wright–Mineta bill (H.R. 5499), and on a third bill that proposed paying out reparations directly (H.R. 5977). Fortunately for the commission’s supporters, the subcommittee was chaired by Representative Danielson, who had sponsored the first Japanese-American compensation bill back in 1974. Danielson and the ranking minority member, Robert McClory of Illinois, supported the Wright–Mineta bill and amended it to include the Aleuts and Pribilof Islanders within the scope of the commission’s investigation. The full Judiciary Committee approved the bill and reported it to the House, which then passed H.R. 5499, 279 to 109. The Senate then agreed to replace the language of Inouye’s bill with the text of the Wright–Mineta bill.178 On July 31, 1980, in a ceremony in the Cabinet Room, President Jimmy Carter signed the CWRIC Act into law.179
The act creating the CWRIC provided for seven commissioners: three to be named by President Carter, two by Senate president pro tempore Warren G. Magnuson of Washington, and two by House Speaker Thomas P. O’Neill of Massachusetts.180 Four Democrats and three Republicans initially served on the commission that was co-chaired by Joan Z. Bernstein, a former counsel for the Health and Human Services Department, and Representative Dan Lungren of California.181
Much of the CWRIC’s work involved locating and gathering official documents, memoirs, and personal papers that revealed the federal decisionmaking processes to implement internment. But the commissioners also wanted to hear and question surviving policymakers and detainees alike. Twenty days of hearings were scheduled around the country in 11 locations between July and December 1981. More than 750 witnesses testified. Both Matsui and Mineta testified about their families’ experiences during the evacuation and relocation as well as their time in the camps. The CWRIC also heard from federal officials like John J. McCloy at the War Department, Colonel Karl R. Bendetsen of the WDC, and Abe Fortas of the Interior Department, who had contributed to the decision to go ahead with internment.182
Initially, the early testimony held outside Washington, DC, came mostly from sansei, who reported how little they had learned about internment from their parents and grandparents. But over time, an increasing number of issei and nisei witnesses appeared, often telling their stories for the first time. “For over thirty-five years I have been the stereotype Japanese American,” Alice Tanabe Nehira told the commission. “I’ve kept quiet, hoping in due time we will be justly compensated and recognized for our years of patient effort. By my passive attitude, I can reflect on my past years to conclude that it doesn’t pay to remain silent.”183 During hearings in Los Angeles, Time magazine reported “the audience listened with hushed respect to stories almost too painful to remember, but too important to forget.”184
As the commission worked on its report throughout 1982, Senator Hayakawa, who taught at an Illinois college during the war, took to the Senate Floor on the 41st anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attacks to adamantly oppose reparations and noted that his “flesh crawls with shame and embarrassment” at the thought. He reminded Japanese Americans of their successful integration into American society, their relative level of wealth and educational achievement, and he warned that, in an era of budget constraints and widespread public concern about Japanese economic gains versus the United States, such a program would invite a “backlash.”185
The CWRIC issued its report, Personal Justice Denied, on February 24, 1983.186 It presented a narrative about the nisei and issei that began before the Pearl Harbor attacks and followed their experiences through the end of internment, and it included comparative analyses with the situation in the military and in Hawaii and described the Aleuts’ experience. A summary paragraph distilled the commission’s basic conclusions:
The promulgation of Executive Order 9066 was not justified by military necessity, and the decisions which followed from it—detention, ending detention and ending exclusion—were not driven by analysis of military conditions. The broad historical causes which shaped these decisions were race prejudice, war hysteria and a failure of political leadership. Widespread ignorance of Japanese Americans contributed to a policy conceived in haste and executed in an atmosphere of fear and anger at Japan. A grave injustice was done to Americans and resident aliens of a 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.187
The public responded favorably to the findings, and there were few objections to the report. The commissioners supported their conclusion unanimously but offered no recommendations and didn’t comment on reparations. “It’s appropriate that the commission did not deal with the issue of redress,” Matsui said, “because I think the attention of the American public should be on what happened, and the individual tragedies that occurred during [the war].”188
Senator Inouye’s blue-ribbon panel had accomplished more than anyone dared to imagine. After suffering silently for 50 years, mainland issei and nisei finally felt free to speak up. Stories they had buried deep inside came spilling out to the surprise of their children and their community. Simply being able to talk about their experiences and having someone confirm that they had undergone a major injustice often meant more than a government check ever could.189
Four months after the report came out, the commission published its recommendations on June 16, 1983. The commission unanimously proposed having the federal government apologize “for the acts of exclusion, removal, and detention.” It also called for presidential pardons for anyone convicted of curfew and exclusion violations. It asked Congress to direct federal agencies to review “with liberality” all nikkei applications for restitution associated with the internment, and it recommended a special foundation created and funded by law for the research and public education of “the causes and circumstances of” internment. All but one of the commissioners further recommended a congressional appropriation of $1.5 billion to pay all surviving evacuees and detainees $20,000 each in reparations.190
Most nikkei Congressmen cheered the result. Senator Matsunaga announced he would do everything he could to push Congress to fund the recommendations. In the House, Mineta vowed “to develop a plan to implement these long overdue recommendations.” Matsui welcomed the recommendations but warned against “false and misleading expectations” about seeing the payments anytime soon. Hayakawa, who had since retired from the Senate, dissented. While he approved of a “national apology for the old injustice,” Hayakawa believed “the successes Japanese Americans have enjoyed in business, education, the professions and in politics have amply demonstrated the esteem in which they are held by their fellow Americans.” He concluded, “All this is redress enough.”191
Congress, however, offered a tepid response to the CWRIC recommendations in the 98th Congress (1983–1985). Redress bills were introduced in both the House (H.R. 3387) and Senate (S. 1520) in mid-1983, but neither went anywhere.192 While Congress generally seemed to support the commission’s findings, opponents rejected redress payments as unfair to American taxpayers by making them liable for the transgressions of an earlier generation.193
In a fitting bit of commemoration, House Democratic leadership saved the designation H.R. 442 for the redress bill at the opening of the 99th Congress (1985–1987), referencing the wartime heroics of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team.194 Mineta was the first person to testify on H.R. 442, and he spoke powerfully on how internment affected his family. “I was a U.S. citizen at birth,” he reminded a House Judiciary subcommittee. “I had all of the rights promised to all the citizens in the Constitution, and I was 10 ½ years old. There was no reason, absolutely none, to fear me. Was I supposedly a saboteur? A spy? A secret agent? No one has ever explained to me what threat I posed or even could have been seen to pose.”195 But Mineta was not alone in his long-simmering doubt or his lifetime of confusion, and when he spoke in terms of “us,” “we,” and “our” during his time before the subcommittee, he spoke on behalf of everyone who spent time in the camps. “Mr. Chairman,” he said, wrapping up, “there is no statute of limitations on our shame, our damaged honor, or our violated rights, and it has fallen on this subcommittee to set us free.” Despite his impassioned testimony, the legislation failed to gain traction.196
In the 100th Congress, with Texas Representative Jim Wright now Speaker and with an additional APA Member of the House, Representative Patricia Saiki of Hawaii, redress had its best chance in years.197 As taken up by the House, the redress bill did three things: It authorized $1.2 billion out of which every surviving member of the camps would be paid $20,000; it advised the Justice Department to clear the convictions of anyone who had resisted imprisonment; and it set aside $50 million to educate the public about the injustices committed by the U.S. government.198 Representative Don Young of Alaska introduced the Aleut redress bill (H.R. 1631) in March 1987, and Senator Matsunaga introduced a companion redress bill (S. 1009) the next month. When Matsunaga rose to introduce his bill, he declared, “Perhaps the most traumatic experience, the one thing that has haunted Americans of Japanese ancestry for 45 years, was the stigma of being cast as disloyal to their own beloved country, the United States of America.”199
Throughout the 100th Congress, Matsunaga worked with the American Civil Liberties Union to lobby each Member on the need for reparations. He and Inouye also both testified before the House committees considering the legislation.200
Although the Ronald Reagan administration opposed redress, the House quickly moved the bill through the Judiciary Committee, which cleared the measure as Mineta and Matsui looked on. Mineta, working with the Democratic leadership, arranged to have H.R. 442 arrive on the House Floor on September 17, the bicentennial of the signing of the U.S. Constitution.201 “Great nations demonstrate their greatness by admitting and redressing the wrongs they commit,” Mineta told a rapt audience in the House Chamber.202 In an emotional floor speech, Matsui retold his family’s heart-wrenching story of being uprooted from their home. “How could I, as a 6-month-old child born in this country, be declared by my own Government to be an enemy alien?” he asked.203 One amendment was made to the bill when Representative Lungren asked to have “failure of political leadership” added to the list of causes of the internment.204
As before, not everyone believed redress was necessary. Redress supporters, said William Frenzel of Minnesota, were “asking us to purge ourselves of someone else’s guilt with another generation’s money.” But opponents were unable to sway the majority, and after the debate, the House passed the redress bill, 243 to 141. As a former internee, Mineta was technically included in the legislation, but he voted “present” to avoid the appearance of any conflict of interest.205
In the Senate, Matsunaga’s bill had a slightly more complicated run in which two failed amendments would have stripped funding for or made it virtually impossible to fund redress payments.206 A third amendment proposed by Senator Jesse Helms of North Carolina demanded the Japanese government compensate the families of those killed in the attacks on Pearl Harbor before any reparations be made to Japanese Americans. Helms’s proposal infuriated Matsunaga, who rushed to highlight its false logic by pointing out that it tied American citizens to the attacks, an accusation the bill was specifically written to redress. When Helms refused to relent and demanded a vote, his amendment failed, 91 to 4.
Following debate in the Senate, Matsunaga brought up H.R. 442, and asked that the text following the enacting clause be replaced with the substance of his bill (S. 1009). The bill, which spread reparation payments over five years, passed on April 20, 1988, by a vote of 69 to 27, a veto-proof majority.207
After the House and Senate agreed to the conference report that summer, President Reagan signed the Civil Liberties Act of 1988 into law on August 10.208 “Indeed, scores of Japanese Americans volunteered for our Armed Forces—many stepping forward in the internment camps themselves,” the President said. “The 442nd Regimental Combat Team, made up entirely of Japanese Americans, served with immense distinction to defend this nation, their nation. Yet, back at home, the soldiers’ families were being denied the very freedom for which so many of the soldiers themselves were laying down their lives.”209
The Civil Liberties Act only authorized the redress payments to the surviving detainees. The President still had to fit the cost into the federal budget, and Congress had to approve the necessary appropriations. When both President Reagan and his successor, George H. W. Bush, asked for less money than expected, the House Appropriations subcommittee overseeing the legislation responded by recommending large sums for the redress program. Under the threat of a presidential veto, however, House leaders removed the funding before bringing the supplemental budget before the House. “The money was there and ready to go before it was stripped by a veto threat from the same team that made redress a campaign issue last year,” Representative Matsui said bitterly. “When an election was on the line, they couldn’t say enough about their support for reparations.” Now that 200 survivors are dying each month without the benefit of seeing their dreams completed, they want to block the funding.” The only funding that Congress agreed to that year was a small amount for administrative costs.210
Having missed the deadline for the 1989 fiscal year, Congress turned its attention to the budget for 1990. When House and Senate budget negotiators reconciled their targets in the spring, $150 million had been slated for redress payments. As before, appropriating money for redress proved to be far more challenging. H.R. 2991 included only $20 million for redress, and during a markup before the full Appropriations Committee, Representative Julian Dixon of California protested the reduction. “This isn’t a new program,” he complained. “This is a debt.” Several efforts to add to the payment appropriations failed until Representative Steny Hoyer of Maryland suggested moving $30 million from the U.S. Census Bureau based in his district toward redress. That broke the impasse in committee, but the final House bill set aside just $50 million for redress, 10 percent of the initial authorization.211
When a Senate Appropriations subcommittee approved H.R. 2991, it removed every last cent for redress payments. Senator Ernest Hollings of South Carolina said the committee “couldn’t find” the money. One camp survivor attending the Senate markup, Rudy Tokiwa, was appalled. “How long do they expect us to wait?” he asked. “They’re just waiting for every one of us to die off.” At that point, Inouye stepped in. Taking Hollings aside, the Hawaii Senator suggested turning redress into a federal entitlement program with annual funding of about $500 million. The payments would be done in a timely manner, and the entitlement would be insulated from annual funding fights. The Senate committee agreed to the change, and the full Senate approved H.R. 2991 on September 29, 1989, 74 to 22.212
The resulting conference committee agreed to the redress entitlement swap. In the House, Representative Mineta led supporters of the effort. Congress could not prevent elderly internees from dying, he said. “But Congress can make the effort to disburse the redress compensation as quickly as possible.” One voice of support came from Representative Newt Gingrich of Georgia, who said that redress was “trying to make sure that those who are now elderly, who once suffered a grievous harm, are given a chance to have their government and the country they love repay that harm before they pass on.” The House approved the conference report, 323 to 81, followed by the entitlement waiver, 249 to 166. After the House and Senate cleared the final version that fall, President Bush signed H.R. 2991 into law on November 21, 1989. The first letters of apology and the first redress payments were presented to the oldest surviving detainees in a public ceremony on October 1, 1990. Two years later, Congress amended the Civil Liberties Act in order to provide redress payments to an additional 20,000 camp survivors.213
141Daniels, Asian America: 265–266.
142Chan, Asian Americans: 139; Public Law 78-405, 58 Stat. 677 (1944).
143Lee, The Making of Asian America: 239–240.
144Ibid., 239–241; Daniels, Japanese American Cases: 122–124; Maki et al., Achieving the Impossible Dream: 54–55.
145Maki et al., Achieving the Impossible Dream: 60–61.
146Ibid., 55, 250n13.
148Daniels, Asian America: 296–297.
149House Committee on the Judiciary, Authorizing the Attorney General to Adjudicate Certain Claims Resulting from Evacuation of Certain Persons of Japanese Ancestry Under Military Orders, 80th Cong., 1st sess., H. Rept. 732 (27 June 1947); Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians (hereinafter CWRIC), Personal Justice Denied, Part 1 (December 1982): 50, https://www.archives.gov/research/japanese-americans/justice-denied (accessed 9 January 2017); Maki et al., Achieving the Impossible Dream: 54; Daniels, Asian America: 296.
150Daniels, Asian America: 297.
151Japanese-American Evacuation Claims Act, Public Law 80-886, 62 Stat. 1231 (1948); Harry S. Truman, “Special Message to the Congress on Civil Rights,” 2 February 1948, in American Presidency Project, ed. John T. Woolley and Gerhard Peters, http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=13006 (accessed 7 March 2016).
152Daniels, Asian America: 297–298; CWRIC, Personal Justice Denied, Part 1: 118; Maki et al., Achieving the Impossible Dream: 54.
153Maki et al., Achieving the Impossible Dream: 66; Daniels, Asian America: 303n36.
154Maki et al., Achieving the Impossible Dream: 66; Louis Fisher, “Detention of U.S. Citizens,” Report RS22130, 28 April 2005, Congressional Research Service.
155Richard Halloran, Sparky: Warrior, Peacemaker, Poet, Patriot (Honolulu, HI: Watermark Publishing, 2002): 140–143.
156Fisher, “Detention of U.S. Citizens”; Maki et al., Achieving the Impossible Dream: 66.
157Maki et al., Achieving the Impossible Dream: 57.
158Leslie T. Hatamiya, Righting a Wrong: Japanese Americans and the Passage of the Civil Liberties Act of 1988 (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1993): 133–134.
159Gerald R. Ford, “Proclamation 4417—An American Promise,” 19 February 1976, in American Presidency Project, ed. John T. Woolley and Gerhard Peters, http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=787 (accessed 7 March 2016).
160Gerald R. Ford, “Remarks Upon Signing a Proclamation Concerning Japanese-American Internment During World War II,” 19 February 1976, in American Presidency Project, ed. John T. Woolley and Gerhard Peters, http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=5591 (accessed 7 March 2016).
161Daniels, Japanese American Cases: 193, 195–196; Public Law 102-248, 106 Stat. 40 (1992); Public Law 109-441, 120 Stat. 3288 (2006).
162Daniels, Japanese American Cases: 193–194; William J. Clinton, “Memorandum on Preservation of Japanese-American Internment Sites,” 9 November 2000, in American Presidency Project, ed. John T. Woolley and Gerhard Peters, http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=1011 (accessed 31 March 2016). The NPS Report, Confinement and Ethnicity: An Overview of World War II Japanese American Relocation Sites, can be found at https://www.nps.gov/parkhistory/online_books/anthropology74/ (accessed 31 March 2016).
163William J. Clinton, “Proclamation 7395—Establishment of the Minidoka Internment National Monument,” 17 January 2001, in American Presidency Project, ed. John T. Woolley and Gerhard Peters, http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=62518 (accessed 31 March 2016).
164Daniels, Japanese American Cases: 195; Public Law 109-441, 120 Stat. 3288 (2006). During 2006, two more World War II nikkei sites were added as National Historic Landmarks: the Tule Lake Segregation Center and Granada Relocation Center. See “Tule Lake Segregation Center,” National Park Service, accessed 31 March 2016, https://www.nps.gov/nr/feature/asia/2006/tul.htm; “Grenada Relocation Center,” National Park Service, accessed 31 March 2016, https://www.nps.gov/nr/feature/asia/2006/gra.htm. President Bush also issued Presidential Proclamation 8327 on December 5, 2008, establishing the World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument, which included provisions for the Tule Lake Segregation Center to become a National Monument. See George W. Bush, “Proclamation 8327— Establishment of the World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument,” 5 December 2008, in American Presidency Project, ed. John T. Woolley and Gerhard Peters, http://www. presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=85048 (accessed 31 March 2016).
165“‘Asian Heritage Week’ Bill Needs Sponsors,” 31 May 1978, International Examiner (Seattle): 10, http://www.iexaminer.org/iearchives/ (accessed 5 January 2017); Congressional Record, House, 95th Cong., 2nd sess. (10 July 1978): 19940–19941.
166Congressional Record, House, 95th Cong., 2nd sess. (19 September 1978): 29969; “Carter Signs Legislation for Asian Heritage Week,” 30 November 1978, International Examiner (Seattle): 11, http://www.iexaminer.org/iearchives/ (accessed 5 January 2017).
167Congressional Record, Senate, 101st Cong., 2nd sess. (3 May 1990): S5485–S5486.
168Sharon Shaw Johnson and Marilyn Greene, “Capital Line,” 7 May 1990, USA Today: 4A.
169Daniels, Asian America: 332; Maki et al., Achieving the Impossible Dream: 64; Hatamiya, Righting a Wrong: 138.
170Maki et al., Achieving the Impossible Dream: 68; Congressional Record, House, 93rd Cong., 2nd sess. (28 June 1974): 21773.
171Maki et al., Achieving the Impossible Dream: 81; Daniels, Asian America: 332–333; Hatamiya, Righting a Wrong: 139–141.
172Daniels, Japanese American Cases: 148; Maki et al., Achieving the Impossible Dream: 86.
173Daniels, Japanese American Cases: 148; quotation in Maki et al., Achieving the Impossible Dream: 86.
174Maki et al., Achieving the Impossible Dream: 86; see also Daniels, Japanese American Cases: 148.
175Maki et al., Achieving the Impossible Dream: 91–92; Daniels, Asian America: 334–335.
176Maki et al., Achieving the Impossible Dream: 92. Backed by JACL members who thought the commission option was too timid, Seattle Congressman Michael E. Lowry introduced a competing redress bill that provided for a formal apology and reparations payments. Because none of the nikkei Congressmen supported it, the Judiciary Committee never considered it. See Maki et al., Achieving the Impossible Dream: 92–93; Daniels, Japanese American Cases: 149.
177Maki et al., Achieving the Impossible Dream: 93–94.
178Ibid., 95; Congressional Record, House, 96th Cong., 2nd sess. (21 July 1980): 18875–18876.
179Maki et al., Achieving the Impossible Dream: 96; Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians Act, Public Law 96-317, 94 Stat. 964 (1980). See also Jimmy Carter, “Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians Act Remarks on Signing S. 1647 Into Law,” 31 July 1980, in American Presidency Project, ed. John T. Woolley and Gerhard Peters, http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=44855 (accessed 9 March 2016).
180Senator Milton R. Young of South Dakota served as president pro tempore on December 5, 1980. See “President Pro Tempore,” U.S. Senate Historical Office, accessed 24 March 2016, http://www.senate.gov/artandhistory/history/common/briefing/President_Pro_Tempore.htm#5.
181Daniels, Japanese American Cases: 150; Daniels, Asian America: 335–336. The other members were former Massachusetts Senator Edward W. Brooke; former Justice Arthur J. Goldberg; former Health, Education and Welfare Secretary Arthur S. Fleming; Judge William J. Marutani; and former Washington Senator Hugh B. Mitchell. In early 1981, Reverend Ishmael V. Gromoff, an Aleut, and former Massachusetts Representative Father Robert F. Drinan were added to the commission.
182Maki et al., Achieving the Impossible Dream: 99–100; CWRIC, Personal Justice Denied, Part 1: 1; Daniels, Japanese American Cases: 153.
183Lee, The Making of Asian America: 312; quotation in Takaki, Strangers from a Different Shore: 485.
184Maki et al., Achieving the Impossible Dream: 110.
185Congressional Record, Senate, 97th Cong., 2nd sess. (7 December 1982): 29209–29213, quotation on p. 29213.
186CWRIC, Personal Justice Denied, Part 1: 1.
188Daniels, Japanese American Cases: 4; Maki et al., Achieving the Impossible Dream: 111.
189Daniels, Asian America: 339.
190CWRIC, Personal Justice Denied, Part 2: Recommendations, https://www.archives.gov/research/japanese-americans/justice-denied (accessed 25 March 2016); Maki et al., Achieving the Impossible Dream: 112.
191Maki et al., Achieving the Impossible Dream: 113.
192Ibid., 139, 142. For the testimony of Mineta and Matsui, see Hearings before the House Committee on the Judiciary, Subcommittee on Administrative Law and Governmental Relations, Japanese-American and Aleutian Wartime Relocation, 98th Cong., 2nd sess., (20–21, 27 June 1984 and 12 September 1984): 24.
193Maki et al., Achieving the Impossible Dream: 140–145; Daniels, Asian America: 340.
194Both Senators Inouye and Matsunaga served in the 442nd. Maki et al., Achieving the Impossible Dream: 153–156.
195Hearings before the House Committee on the Judiciary, Subcommittee on Administrative Law and Governmental Relations, Civil Liberties Act of 1985 and the Aleutian and Pribilof Islands Restitution Act, Part I, 99th Cong., 2nd sess. (28 April 1986): 34.
196Ibid., 36; Maki et al., Achieving the Impossible Dream: 156.
197Maki et al., Achieving the Impossible Dream: 167; Congressional Record, House, 101st Cong., 1st sess. (1 August 1989): 2834.
198“House Votes to Make Amends for Internment,” CQ Almanac, 1987, 43rd ed. (Washington, DC: Congressional Quarterly, 1988): 278, http://library.cqpress.com; “Internees Gain Reparations,” CQ Almanac, 1988, 44th ed. (Washington, DC: Congressional Quarterly, 1989): 80–81, http://library.cqpress.com; Bill McAllister, “Amends Sought for 1940s Internment,” 12 September 1987, Washington Post: A1; Mick Rood, no title, 16 September 1987, States News Service; Jill Lawrence, no title, 17 September 1987, Associated Press; Nathaniel Nash, “House Votes Payments to Japanese Internees,” 18 September 1987, New York Times: A15; Jill Lawrence, “Mineta Tearfully Recalls 1942 Internment as House Votes Cash Compensation,” 18 September 1987, Associated Press.
199Maki et al., Achieving the Impossible Dream: 167, 170. The Aleut redress bill was reported out of the Judiciary Committee in October. “House Votes to Make Amends for Internment”; Halloran, Sparky: 210–220.
200Halloran, Sparky: 210–220.
201Maki et al., Achieving the Impossible Dream: 167–169; “House Votes to Make Amends for Internment.”
202“House Votes to Make Amends for Internment.”
203Congressional Record, House, 100th Cong., 1st sess. (17 September 1987): 24304.
204“House Votes to Make Amends for Internment.”
205Ibid.; “Internees Gain Reparations”; McAllister, “Amends Sought for 1940s Internment”; Rood, no title, 16 September 1987; Lawrence, no title, 17 September 1987; Nash, “House Votes Payments to Japanese Internees”; Lawrence, “Mineta Tearfully Recalls 1942 Internment as House Votes Cash Compensation.”
206Maki et al., Achieving the Impossible Dream: 171, 181; “Internees Gain Reparations”; Halloran, Sparky: 226.
207Congressional Record, Senate, 100th Cong., 2nd sess. (20 April 1988): 7619–7643; “Internees Gain Reparations”; Halloran, Sparky: 233–234.
208“Internees Gain Reparations”; Maki et al., Achieving the Impossible Dream: 195–196; Civil Liberties Act of 1988, Public Law 100-383, 102 Stat. 903 (1988).
209Takaki, Strangers from a Different Shore: 485–486; Ronald Reagan, “Remarks on Signing the Bill Providing Restitution for the Wartime Internment of Japanese-American Civilians,” 10 August 1988, in American Presidency Project, ed. John T. Woolley and Gerhard Peters, http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=36240 (accessed 24 March 2016).
210“House Votes to Make Amends for Internment”; quotation in Maki et al., Achieving the Impossible Dream: 201–203.
211Maki et al., Achieving the Impossible Dream: 201, 203–204; “Commerce, Justice, State Cleared for President,” in CQ Almanac, 1989, 45th ed. (Washington, DC: Congressional Quarterly, 1990): 721–728, http://library.cqpress.com.
212“Commerce, Justice, State Cleared for President”; Maki et al., Achieving the Impossible Dream: 206, 208.
213“Commerce, Justice, State Cleared for President”; Maki et al., Achieving the Impossible Dream: 209–210; Chan, Asian Americans: 174; Daniels, Japanese American Cases: 163.