Seventy-five years ago this weekend, President Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, paving the way for the incarceration of 120,000 people of Japanese ancestry in camps during World War II, the majority of whom were American citizens. In one of the most shameful episodes of U.S. history, thousands of individuals and families were forcibly uprooted from their homes, businesses, and lives as a fear-based response to the outbreak of the war.
As the anniversary of the order is marked, the U.S. and the world is dealing with the enormous fall out of President Trump’s discriminatory executive order banning refugees and people from majority-Muslim countries from entering the country.
Amnesty International USA is calling on the Senate to pass legislation that would end the ban once and for all.
“The painful echoes of our past are haunting us as we mark this solemn anniversary, “ said Margaret Huang, executive director of Amnesty International USA. “Three-quarters of a century ago, the U.S. government allowed fear and racial prejudices to overrule compassion and reason, to the everlasting shame of our country. Congress stood by silently in 1942 as thousands of people’s rights were subverted because of bigotry and discrimination. They cannot repeat that grievous mistake now. Refugees deserve better than to be shut out and forced back to the terrible circumstances that caused them to flee. Congress must repeal the ban immediately.”