Nearly 70 years ago, Executive Order 9066 authorized the U.S. military to remove any person from designated “military zones” without charge, trial or any kind of due process. This Order led to the forced evacuation and internment over over 120,000 Japanese Americans, two thirds of whom, including myself, my siblings, and my mother, were U.S. citizens. I spent over four years in two of America’s internment camps, in Rohwer, Arkansas and Tule Lake, California, simply because I and my family happen to look like the people who bombed Pearl Harbor.
Now a bill proposed in the U.S. Senate, S. 1253 (McCain/Levin) would authorize a similar sweeping authority, granted to the President, to order the detention–without charge or trial–of any person even suspected of being associated with a “terrorist organization.” I could scarcely believe my eyes when I saw that we hadn’t learned from the terrible lessons of the past.
We are a nation of laws, and we have a Constitution that guarantees certain inalienable rights, including the right to liberty, the right to a jury trial, and the right against unlawful search and seizure. And yet, in times of trouble, how quickly these cornerstones of our freedom are abandoned. We must be constantly vigilant against tyranny and injustice of all forms, especially when it isn’t politically expedient.
Please share this article and write to your senator, telling her or him to vote against S.1253, and to say loudly and clearly: “Never Again.”