Japanese Americans challenge detention of Muslims

Three Japanese Americans are urging an appeals court in New York to overturn last year's ruling that the American government had wide latitude to detain non-U.S. citizens indefinitely on the basis of race, religion or national origin.

Japanese Americans challenge detention of Muslims

Three JapaneseAmericans, whose grandparents were among thousands of Japanese immigrantswrongfully detained in the U.S. as enemy aliens during World War II, are urgingan appeals court in New York to overturn last year's ruling that the Americangovernment had wide latitude to detain non-U.S. citizens indefinitely on thebasis of race, religion or national origin.

Last year's court ruling came in a class-action lawsuit by Muslim immigrantsheld after the September 11, 2001 attacks.

The ruling "painfully resurrects the long-discredited legal theory"used to put Japanese Americans behind barbed wire, Holly Yasui, Jay Hirabayashiand Karen Korematsu-Haigh argued in an unusual friends-of-the-court brief thatwas filed Tuesday in the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

"Their interest is in avoiding the repetition of a tragic episode inAmerican history that is also, for them, painful family history," thebrief states.

Many analysts compare between the internment of Japanese Americans after theJapanese air attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7,1941, and the treatment of hundreds of Muslim non-citizens who were arrestedafter 9/11, held for months and then cleared of links to terrorism anddeported.

The arrests of Muslim immigrants were often made at gunpoint and the men weredetained in solitary confinement and subjected to degrading treatment,according to a report released last year by Human Rights Watch and the AmericanCivil Liberties Union.

"I feel that racial profiling is absolutely wrong and unjustifiable,"says Yasui, 53.

"That my grandmother was treated by the U.S. government as a 'dangerousenemy alien' was a travesty. And it killed my grandfather."

The federal judge who ruled last year in the Muslim immigrants' case said that"the executive is free to single out 'nationals of a particular country" underimmigration law.

"And because so little was known about the Sept. 11 hijackers", the judgesaid, singling out Arab Muslims for detention to investigate possible ties toterrorism, though "crude," was not "so irrational or outrageousas to warrant judicial intrusion into an area in which courts have littleexperience and less expertise."

But the Japanese' brief argues that the ruling "overlooks the nearly20-year-old declaration by the U.S. Congress and the president of the UnitedStates that the racially selective detention of Japanese aliens during WorldWar II was a 'fundamental injustice' warranting an apology and the payment ofreparations."

"It was a grave injustice to subject 'enemy aliens' to prolonged detention onaccount of race and national origin in World War II", the brief says.

Two months after Pearl Harbor, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed ExecutiveOrder 9066 which designated West Coast residents of Japanese ancestry - whetherAmerican citizens or not – as "enemy aliens." An 8 p.m. curfew wasimposed on them and some of them were sent to desolate internment camps.

In 1944, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the forcedremoval of Japanese Americans, arguing that it is permissible to curtail thecivil rights of a racial group when there is a "pressing publicnecessity."

In 1988, President Ronald Reagan signed legislation which apologized for theinternment and stated that the government actions were based on "raceprejudice, war hysteria, and a failure of political leadership". In 1990,the U.S.government paid reparations to surviving internees.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16
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