PRESS RELEASE | NAPABA Supports Reintroduction of Korematsu-Takai Civil Liberties Protection Act

Press Statement

For Immediate Release
Feb. 19, 2019


NAPABA Supports Reintroduction of Korematsu-Takai Civil Liberties Protection Act

WASHINGTON — Recognizing today’s Day of Remembrance, NAPABA supports the reintroduction of the Korematsu-Takai Civil Liberties Protection Act by Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Senator Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), and Congressman Mark Takano (D-Calif.). The bill amends existing law to explicitly prevent the incarceration of individuals solely-based on protected characteristics, as occurred during the incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II. The bill is named in honor of civil rights pioneer, Fred Korematsu, and Congressman Mark Takai of Hawaii.

“The Korematsu-Takai Civil Liberties Protection Act acknowledges a dark chapter of our history when our government used national security as a pretext for racial discrimination, and incarcerated tens of thousands of Japanese Americans unconstitutionally,” said NAPABA President Daniel Sakaguchi. “This bill honors the memories of Fred Korematsu and Congressman Mark Takai by enacting measures to stop this sordid history from being repeated—and would bar detentions based on race, religion, or other protected characteristics. We thank Senator Duckworth, Senator Hirono, and Congressman Takano for continuing to champion this important legislation and the more than a dozen original cosponsors of the bill for joining this effort to protect the civil rights and civil liberties of all communities.”

“We, as a nation, must never forget or repeat the horrors thousands of Japanese Americans experienced as prisoners within our own borders,” Senator Duckworth said. “We must also continue to do everything we can to ensure such a national travesty never happens again. I’m proud to introduce this bill with Senator Hirono and Congressman Takano, in honor of the courage of Fred Korematsu and in remembrance of my dear friend and former colleague Mark Takai, to protect civil liberties and strengthen our resolve to ensure we never again repeat such shameful acts.”

“The incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II was deeply wrong and something like it should never happen again,” Senator Hirono said. “Over the past two years, however, Donald Trump and his administration have pursued divisive policies and rhetoric that demonize the Muslim community and other marginalized groups. By repudiating the Supreme Court’s precedent in Korematsu, this legislation makes clear that a travesty like the Japanese internment should never happen again. And by standing up for the civil rights of all communities, we honor the life and work of our friend and colleague Mark Takai.” 

“We cannot allow what my parents, grandparents, and 115,000 other Japanese Americans underwent during World War II to ever happen again in our country,” Congressman Takano said. “The cruelty and inhumanity behind the internment of Japanese Americans is a stain on the fabric of our country that was born out of hate, discrimination, and politics rooted in fearmongering. The rhetoric and policies being promoted by this Administration are a cause for concern and further emphasize the need for this legislation. In honor of Congressman Takai and Fred Korematsu, we must ensure that no person is ever a target of despicable policies that are discriminatory and un-American.”

The federal criminal code contains no explicit prohibition on imprisoning or detaining citizens solely on the basis of race, religion, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, ethnicity, national origin or disability. The Supreme Court of the United States did not directly overrule the precedents set by the three condemned decisions of Korematsu v. United StatesHirabayashi v. United States, and Yasui v. United States in its recent decision, Hawaii v. Trump.

NAPABA thanks the more than a dozen Senators and Members of Congress who joined as original cosponsors, including: Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Tina Smith (D-Minn.), and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.).

NAPABA supported this legislation as an original sponsor when it was first introduced in the 115th Congress in 2017.


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