Home > 106th Congressional Bills > H.R. 2442 (rs) To provide for the preparation of a Government report detailing injustices suffered by Italian Americans during World War II, and a formal acknowledgment of such injustices by the President. [Reported in Senate] ...

H.R. 2442 (rs) To provide for the preparation of a Government report detailing injustices suffered by Italian Americans during World War II, and a formal acknowledgment of such injustices by the President. [Reported in Senate] ...


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106th CONGRESS
  1st Session
                                H. R. 2442


_______________________________________________________________________


                   IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

                           November 16, 1999

                                Received

                           November 19, 1999

       Read twice and referred to the Committee on the Judiciary

_______________________________________________________________________

                                 AN ACT


 
    To provide for the preparation of a Government report detailing 
  injustices suffered by Italian Americans during World War II, and a 
       formal acknowledgment of such injustices by the President.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the 
United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

    This Act may be cited as the ``Wartime Violation of Italian 
American Civil Liberties Act''.

SEC. 2. FINDINGS.

    The Congress makes the following findings:
            (1) The freedom of more than 600,000 Italian-born 
        immigrants in the United States and their families was 
        restricted during World War II by Government measures that 
        branded them ``enemy aliens'' and included carrying 
        identification cards, travel restrictions, and seizure of 
        personal property.
            (2) During World War II more than 10,000 Italian Americans 
        living on the West Coast were forced to leave their homes and 
        prohibited from entering coastal zones. More than 50,000 were 
        subjected to curfews.
            (3) During World War II thousands of Italian American 
        immigrants were arrested, and hundreds were interned in 
        military camps.
            (4) Hundreds of thousands of Italian Americans performed 
        exemplary service and thousands sacrificed their lives in 
        defense of the United States.
            (5) At the time, Italians were the largest foreign-born 
        group in the United States, and today are the fifth largest 
        immigrant group in the United States, numbering approximately 
        15 million.
            (6) The impact of the wartime experience was devastating to 
        Italian American communities in the United States, and its 
        effects are still being felt.
            (7) A deliberate policy kept these measures from the public 
        during the war. Even 50 years later much information is still 
        classified, the full story remains unknown to the public, and 
        it has never been acknowledged in any official capacity by the 
        United States Government.

SEC. 3. REPORT.

    The Inspector General of the Department of Justice shall conduct a 
comprehensive review of the treatment by the United States Government 
of Italian Americans during World War II, and not later than one year 
after the date of the enactment of this Act shall submit to the 
Congress a report that documents the findings of such review. The 
report shall cover the period between September 1, 1939, and December 
31, 1945, and shall include the following:
            (1) The names of all Italian Americans who were taken into 
        custody in the initial roundup following the attack on Pearl 
        Harbor, and prior to the United States declaration of war 
        against Italy.
            (2) The names of all Italian Americans who were taken into 
        custody.
            (3) The names of all Italian Americans who were interned 
        and the location where they were interned.
            (4) The names of all Italian Americans who were ordered to 
        move out of designated areas under the United States Army's 
        ``Individual Exclusion Program''.
            (5) The names of all Italian Americans who were arrested 
        for curfew, contraband, or other violations under the authority 
        of Executive Order No. 9066.
            (6) Documentation of Federal Bureau of Investigation raids 
        on the homes of Italian Americans.
            (7) A list of ports from which Italian American fishermen 
        were restricted.
            (8) The names of Italian American fishermen who were 
        prevented from fishing in prohibited zones and therefore unable 
        to pursue their livelihoods.
            (9) The names of Italian Americans whose boats were 
        confiscated.
            (10) The names of Italian American railroad workers who 
        were prevented from working in prohibited zones.
            (11) A list of all civil liberties infringements suffered 
        by Italian Americans during World War II, as a result of 
        Executive Order No. 9066, including internment, hearings 
        without benefit of counsel, illegal searches and seizures, 
        travel restrictions, enemy alien registration requirements, 
        employment restrictions, confiscation of property, and forced 
        evacuation from homes.
            (12) An explanation of why some Italian Americans were 
        subjected to civil liberties infringements, as a result of 
        Executive Order No. 9066, while other Italian Americans were 
        not.
            (13) A review of the wartime restrictions on Italian 
        Americans to determine how civil liberties can be better 
        protected during national emergencies.

SEC. 4. SENSE OF THE CONGRESS.

    It is the sense of the Congress that--
            (1) the story of the treatment of Italian Americans during 
        World War II needs to be told in order to acknowledge that 
        these events happened, to remember those whose lives were 
        unjustly disrupted and whose freedoms were violated, to help 
        repair the damage to the Italian American community, and to 
        discourage the occurrence of similar injustices and violations 
        of civil liberties in the future;
            (2) Federal agencies, including the Department of Education 
        and the National Endowment for the Humanities, should support 
        projects such as--
                    (A) conferences, seminars, and lectures to heighten 
                awareness of this unfortunate chapter in our Nation's 
                history;
                    (B) the refurbishment of and payment of all 
                expenses associated with the traveling exhibit ``Una 
                Storia Segreta'', exhibited at major cultural and 
                educational institutions throughout the United States; 
                and
                    (C) documentaries to allow this issue to be 
                presented to the American public to raise its 
                awareness;
            (3) an independent, volunteer advisory committee should be 
        established comprised of representatives of Italian American 
        organizations, historians, and other interested individuals to 
        assist in the compilation, research, and dissemination of 
        information concerning the treatment of Italian Americans; and
            (4) after completion of the report required by this Act, 
        financial support should be provided for the education of the 
        American public through the production of a documentary film 
        suited for public broadcast.

SEC. 5. FORMAL ACKNOWLEDGEMENT.

    The President shall, on behalf of the United States Government, 
formally acknowledge that these events during World War II represented 
a fundamental injustice against Italian Americans.

            Passed the House of Representatives November 10, 1999.

            Attest:

                                                 JEFF TRANDAHL,

                                                                 Clerk.

Pages: 1

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