2000 November 7

Congress Passes “Wartime Violations of Italian-Americans Act”


The history of violations of civil liberties during World War II is dominated by the evacuation and internment of the Japanese-Americans from the West Coast, authorized by President Franklin D. Roosevelt on February 19, 1942. That tragedy has overshadowed the internment of an estimated 2,000 people of Italian-American descent who were also interned during the war. The issue is complicated by the fact that Italian-Americans were subject to a number of different laws and enforcement actions. (See, for example, the lifting of restrictions on aliens on October 18, 1942.)

Congress on this day authorized a full investigation and report of the internments and other restrictions on Italian-Americans. The report listed 11 different categories of Italian-Americans who were detained between 1939 and 1945. The House of Representatives released the report to the public in November 2001.

Read the law authorizing the study: http://www.uscis.gov/ilink/docView/PUBLAW/HTML/PUBLAW/0-0-0-23651.html

Learn more: Lawrence Di Stasi, Una Storia Segreta: The Secret History of Italian American Evacuation and Internment during World War II (2004)

Read the Subcommittee on the Constitution’s 1999 Hearingshttp://commdocs.house.gov/committees/judiciary/hju60413.000/hju60413_0f.htm

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