I am writing to ask that you cosponsor and actively support the passage of the Commission on
Wartime Relocation and Internment of Latin Americans of Japanese Descent Act (H.R. 662 and
This bill, introduced by Congressman Xavier Becerra (CA-31) in the House of Representatives (with
Congressmembers Daniel Lungren, Mike Honda, Chris Cannon) and Senator Daniel K. Inouye (HI)
in the Senate (with Senators Ted Stevens, Carl Levin, Patrick Leahy, Lisa Murkowski, Robert
Bennett), would establish a federal commission to investigate and determine the facts surrounding the
relocation, internment, and deportation of Latin Americans of Japanese descent by the U.S.
government during World War II, and recommend any appropriate remedies based on the
While many Americans are aware of the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II, few
know about our government’s activities in some non-combatant countries against people of Japanese
ancestry. Japanese Latin Americans were uprooted from their homes and forcibly transported to the
United States only to be held in internment camps, and some of them were used for hostage exchanges. These men, women and children were robbed of their freedom as they were removed from nations not
directly involved in the war without due process. They were classified as “illegal aliens” by the U.S.
government despite being forcibly brought to the U.S., and were subject to deportation during and after
the war, in violation of their most fundamental civil and human rights.
This chapter in our history needs to be fully and properly investigated, so that Congress and the
American people can understand what happened, and so that we can prevent these grave injustices
from ever happening again. Although a previous commission in the 1980’s studied the internment of
Japanese Americans during the war, there has not been a comprehensive study of the U.S. wartime
enemy alien program, and the civil and human rights violations suffered by Japanese Latin Americans.
This commission would allow us to hear the voices of those who personally suffered great losses and
endured tremendous hardship due to U.S. actions in Latin America during the war, and would give
Congress a chance to consider appropriate remedies. The American people and our future generations
deserve to know the complete history of our nation’s actions during WWII.
The passage of this bill is urgent because with each passing day, those people who were directly
affected by this horrific human rights violation are passing, and unless this bill advances, they
may not live to see the possibility of justice realized.
Please let me know that you will cosponsor and support this important and timely bill.