Text: H.R.2090 — 105th Congress (1997-1998)All Information (Except Text)

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Introduced in House (06/26/1997)

[Congressional Bills 105th Congress]
[From the U.S. Government Printing Office]
[H.R. 2090 Introduced in House (IH)]

  1st Session
                                H. R. 2090

 Ordering 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.



                             June 26, 1997

   Mr. Lazio of New York (for himself, Mr. Engel, Mrs. Morella, Mr. 
Pascrell, Mr. King, Mr. Miller of California, Ms. DeLauro, Mr. Pallone, 
Mrs. Kelly, Mr. Mascara, Ms. Kaptur, Mr. Ackerman, Mr. Kennedy of Rhode 
   Island, Mr. Manton, Mrs. McCarthy of New York, and Mr. McGovern) 
 introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on 
                             the Judiciary


                                 A BILL

 Ordering 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,


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


    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 
            (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.
            (8) This story 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.
            (9) 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 
                    (B) the refurbishment of and payment of all 
                expenses associated with the traveling exhibit ``Una 
                Storia Segreta'', to be exhibited at major cultural and 
                educational institutions throughout the United States; 
                    (C) documentaries to allow this issue to be 
                presented to the American public to raise their 
            (10) 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.
            (11) 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.


    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 within 12 months of the 
date of 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 interned or 
        taken into custody.
            (3) The locations where Italian Americans 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 9066.
            (6) Documentation of FBI raids on the homes of Italian 
        Americans and an explanation of the authority under which each 
        such action was taken.
            (7) A list of ports from which Italian American fishermen 
        were restricted.
            (8) The names of Italian American fishermen who were unable 
        to pursue their livelihoods.
            (9) The names of Italian Americans whose boats were 
            (10) A list 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, 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 the civil liberties 
        infringements occurred.
            (13) An explanation of why some Italian Americans were 
        subjected to civil liberties infringements while others were 
            (14) A review of the wartime restrictions on Italian 
        Americans to determine how civil liberties can be better 
        protected during national emergencies.


    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.