Muratsuchi introduces bill calling for $3 million in Education Grants on Civil Liberties and the World War II Japanese American Incarceration

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Muslim, Jewish, Latino & Asian Pacific Islander communities rally to keep history from repeating under Trump

Sacramento, CA –Assemblymember Al Muratsuchi (D-Torrance) today called for $3 million in grants to the State Library for educational activities and materials on civil liberties and the World War II Japanese American Incarceration. The Assemblymember made his remarks at a Capitol press conference, where he stood with Assemblymembers and leaders from the Muslim, Asian Pacific Islander (API), Jewish and Latino communities in solidarity to ensure that history doesn’t repeat itself in the Trump era. 

Assemblymember Muratsuchi’s Assembly Bill (AB) 491 would ensure that more Californians could learn these historical lessons so that history will not repeat itself.

“We have to remember that the incarceration of over 120,000 Japanese Americans without any due process of law began with an Executive Order, much like the ones that President Trump has been issuing,” said Muratsuchi.  “Today, President Trump is issuing executive orders targeting Muslims and refugees as national security threats, just as Japanese Americans were targeted during World War II.  Now, more than ever, every American needs to learn the lessons of the Japanese American Incarceration, so that no one is ever targeted again because of their national origin or faith.” 

It was 75 year ago that President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, which led to the Japanese American concentration camps during World War II.

Karen Korematsu, the Executive Director and Founder of the Fred J. Korematsu Institute, spoke about the lessons learned from her Father, who was held to be guilty of violating Executive Order 9066 in 1944 by the Supreme Court. 

“Here we are 75 years later and lessons still have not been learned.  My Father was found to have violated Executive Order 9066 by the U.S. Supreme Court.  And now his case is being used in a plaintiff’s case against the Muslim Ban as a warning against these kinds of racist laws.  It is also more important than ever to put money into education.  We cannot repeat history and we cannot keep making the same mistakes. ”

Basim Elkarra of the Council of American-Islamic Relations spoke about how the President Trump’s Muslim Ban makes it plainly clear that history could repeat itself.

“President Trump has proposed an immigration ban on people from six Muslim majority countries.  I am, in fact, a plaintiff in a case against this ban.  My community is being targeted unjustly today just like the Japanese Americans were in the 1940s.  Understanding what the Japanese Americans went through and how they got through it not only educates our young people, but also helps our community understand that you can beat this and that you can survive the fear and the hate.”

Chris Sanchez of the Coalition of Humane Immigrant Rights (CHIRLA) spoke about how high numbers of deportations of Latinos are causing great fear, just like the Japanese Americans experienced during WWII.

“Under the Trump administration, the reality is that all undocumented immigrants are considered a priority for deportation. We have seen this recently with a DACA recipient had been deported even though Trump had stated Dreamers were not priority nor was he going to go after them. Our families live in fear now. The same kind of fear that the Japanese Americans lived with during WWII when their families were being uprooted and taken to internment camps right here in our great state of California.”

Assemblymember Al Muratsuchi represents California’s 66th Assembly District, which includes El Camino Village, Gardena, Harbor City, Harbor Gateway, Hermosa Beach, Lomita, Los Angeles, Manhattan Beach, Palos Verdes Estates, Rancho Palos Verdes, Redondo Beach, Rolling Hills, Rolling Hills Estates, Torrance, and West Carson.  He serves as Chairman of the Joint Legislative Audit Committee and the Assembly Select Committee on Aerospace.  Muratsuchi is a member of the Assembly Committees on Appropriations, Budget, Budget Subcommittee 2, Natural Resources, Utilities and Energy, and Veterans Affairs.