During World War II, the United States government interned, relocated, and confiscated the property of thousands of Italian Americans. Hundreds of Italians were arrested, put on a train with darkened windows, and sent to internment camps across the United States. Thousands were arrested and taken into custody, many without a warrant. 10,000 Italians were relocated and forced from their homes, including the elderly and immobile. 600,000 Italians were classified as "enemy aliens" and faced movement restrictions, curfews, job loss, and property confiscation.
The federal government has never apologized for these civil liberty violations. The National Italian American Foundation (NIAF) wants to change that.
On December 1, 2015, Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren of California introduced H.R. 4146 and H.R. 4147. The first bill requests funds to provide grants for education programs on the history of Italian Americans during World War II. The latter asks for an official apology for the mistreatment of Italian Americans during that time.
In 2000, Congress directed the Attorney General to conduct an extensive review of Italian American treatment during World War II. In 2001, the Justice Department released its report, outlining the injustices committed against Italians living in the United States in the 1940's. It's now 15 years later. There has been no follow up and no official apology.
Acknowledging, apologizing for, and studying the treatment of Italian Americans during World War II will help repair the Italian American community and discourage the occurrence of similar injustices and violations of civil liberties in the future. The federal government must safeguard civil liberties and protect the freedom guaranteed by the Constitution. This is about more than Italian Americans. This is about all of us.
Join us and ask Congress to apologize for the government's treatment of Italian Americans during World War II. Call on Congress to pass H.R. 4146 and 4147.
Left photo credit Texas Historical Commission
Demand an Apology from Congress for the Mistreatment of Italian Americans During WWII
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