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H.R. 2442 (106th): Wartime Violation of Italian American Civil Liberties Act

The text of the bill below is as of Oct 26, 2000 (Passed Congress).


One Hundred Sixth Congress

of the

United States of America


Begun and held at the City of Washington on Monday,

the twenty-fourth day of January, two thousand

An Act

To provide for the preparation of a Government report detailing injustices suffered by Italian Americans during World War II, and a formal acknowledgment of such injustices by the President.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,


    This Act may be cited as the ‘Wartime Violation of Italian American Civil Liberties Act’.


    The Congress makes the following findings:

      (1) The freedom of more than 600,000 Italian-born immigrants in the United States and their families was restricted during World War II by Government measures that branded them ‘enemy aliens’ and included carrying identification cards, travel restrictions, and seizure of personal property.

      (2) During World War II more than 10,000 Italian Americans living on the West Coast were forced to leave their homes and prohibited from entering coastal zones. More than 50,000 were subjected to curfews.

      (3) During World War II thousands of Italian American immigrants were arrested, and hundreds were interned in military camps.

      (4) Hundreds of thousands of Italian Americans performed exemplary service and thousands sacrificed their lives in defense of the United States.

      (5) At the time, Italians were the largest foreign-born group in the United States, and today are the fifth largest immigrant group in the United States, numbering approximately 15 million.

      (6) The impact of the wartime experience was devastating to Italian American communities in the United States, and its effects are still being felt.

      (7) A deliberate policy kept these measures from the public during the war. Even 50 years later much information is still classified, the full story remains unknown to the public, and it has never been acknowledged in any official capacity by the United States Government.


    The Attorney General shall conduct a comprehensive review of the treatment by the United States Government of Italian Americans during World War II, and not later than 1 year after the date of the enactment of this Act shall submit to the Congress a report that documents the findings of such review. The report shall cover the period between September 1, 1939, and December 31, 1945, and shall include the following:

      (1) The names of all Italian Americans who were taken into custody in the initial roundup following the attack on Pearl Harbor, and prior to the United States declaration of war against Italy.

      (2) The names of all Italian Americans who were taken into custody.

      (3) The names of all Italian Americans who were interned and the location where they were interned.

      (4) The names of all Italian Americans who were ordered to move out of designated areas under the United States Army’s ‘Individual Exclusion Program’.

      (5) The names of all Italian Americans who were arrested for curfew, contraband, or other violations under the authority of Executive Order No. 9066.

      (6) Documentation of Federal Bureau of Investigation raids on the homes of Italian Americans.

      (7) A list of ports from which Italian American fishermen were restricted.

      (8) The names of Italian American fishermen who were prevented from fishing in prohibited zones and therefore unable to pursue their livelihoods.

      (9) The names of Italian Americans whose boats were confiscated.

      (10) The names of Italian American railroad workers who were prevented from working in prohibited zones.

      (11) A list of all civil liberties infringements suffered by Italian Americans during World War II, as a result of Executive Order No. 9066, including internment, hearings without benefit of counsel, illegal searches and seizures, travel restrictions, enemy alien registration requirements, employment restrictions, confiscation of property, and forced evacuation from homes.

      (12) An explanation of whether Italian Americans were subjected to civil liberties infringements, as a result of Executive Order No. 9066, and if so, why other Italian Americans were not.

      (13) A review of the wartime restrictions on Italian Americans to determine how civil liberties can be better protected during national emergencies.


    It is the sense of the Congress that--

      (1) the story of the treatment of Italian Americans during World War II needs to be told in order to acknowledge that these events happened, to remember those whose lives were unjustly disrupted and whose freedoms were violated, to help repair the damage to the Italian American community, and to discourage the occurrence of similar injustices and violations of civil liberties in the future;

      (2) Federal agencies, including the Department of Education and the National Endowment for the Humanities, should support projects such as--

        (A) conferences, seminars, and lectures to heighten awareness of this unfortunate chapter in our Nation’s history;

        (B) the refurbishment of and payment of all expenses associated with the traveling exhibit ‘Una Storia Segreta’, exhibited at major cultural and educational institutions throughout the United States; and

        (C) documentaries to allow this issue to be presented to the American public to raise its awareness;

      (3) an independent, volunteer advisory committee should be established comprised of representatives of Italian American organizations, historians, and other interested individuals to assist in the compilation, research, and dissemination of information concerning the treatment of Italian Americans;

      (4) after completion of the report required by this Act, financial support should be provided for the education of the American public through the production of a documentary film suited for public broadcast; and

      (5) the President should, on behalf of the United States Government, formally acknowledge that these events during World War II represented a fundamental injustice against Italian Americans.

Speaker of the House of Representatives.

Vice President of the United States and

President of the Senate.