1988 August 10

Justice for Japanese-Americans: The Civil Liberties Act of 1988


President Ronald Reagan on this day signed the Civil Liberties Act of 1988, which provided reparations for Japanese-Americans who had been evacuated and interned during World War II. The law provided payments of $20,000 to each surviving individual. The first nine redress checks were presented to victims of the internment at a ceremony on October 9, 1990.

Historians generally regard the evacuation and internment of the Japanese-Americans in World War II as the greatest single violation of civil liberties in American history. President Franklin D. Roosevelt authorized the program by executive order on February 19, 1942. The Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the program in Hirabayashi v. United States on June 21, 1943 and Korematsu v. United States on December 18, 1944. Nearly 120,000 people, tw0-thirds of whom were American citizens, were removed from their homes on the west coast.

Learn more about the 1988 Civil Liberties Act:

Watch President Reagan sign the 1988 Civil Liberties Act: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MooPi2Ycuxo

Read about the Japanese American tragedy: Greg Robinson, By Order of the President: FDR and the Internment of the Japanese Americans (2001)

Watch a panel commemorating the 25th anniversary of the Civil Liberties Act: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ffn2AfJNcdM

Learn more at the Civil Liberties Public Education Fund:

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