< Back to H.R. 1425 (111th Congress, 2009–2010)

Text of the Wartime Treatment Study Act

This bill was introduced on October 21, 2009, in a previous session of Congress, but was not enacted. The text of the bill below is as of Dec 22, 2010 (Reported by House Committee).

Source: GPO

IB

Union Calendar No. 415

111th CONGRESS

2d Session

H. R. 1425

[Report No. 111–679, Part I]

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

March 10, 2009

(for himself, Ms. Bordallo, Mr. Grijalva, Mr. Holt, Mr. Honda, Mr. Kirk, Mr. Rothman of New Jersey, Mr. Sires, Mr. Boswell, Mr. Gutierrez, and Mr. McMahon) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on the Judiciary, and in addition to the Committee on Appropriations, for a period to be subsequently determined by the Speaker, in each case for consideration of such provisions as fall within the jurisdiction of the committee concerned

December 13, 2010

Reported from the Committee on the Judiciary with an amendment

Strike out all after the enacting clause and insert the part printed in italic

December 13, 2010

Referral to the Committee on Appropriations extended for a period ending not later than December 17, 2010

December 17, 2010

Referral to the Committee on Appropriations extended for a period ending not later than December 21, 2010

December 21, 2010

Referral to the Committee on Appropriations extended for a period ending not later than December 22, 2010


December 22, 2010

Additional sponsors: Mr. Serrano, Mr. Fattah, Mr. Moran of Virginia, Mr. Meeks of New York, Mr. Roskam, Mr. Weiner, Ms. Wasserman Schultz, Mr. Hastings of Florida, Mr. Ackerman, Ms. Hirono, Mr. Hodes, Mr. Farr, Mr. Pierluisi, Mr. Berman, and Ms. Herseth Sandlin

December 22, 2010

The Committee on Appropriations discharged; committed to the Committee of the Whole House on the State of the Union and ordered to be printed

For text of introduced bill, see copy of bill as introduced on March 10, 2009

A BILL

To establish commissions to review the facts and circumstances surrounding injustices suffered by European Americans, European Latin Americans, and Jewish refugees during World War II.


1.

Short title

This Act may be cited as the Wartime Treatment Study Act.

2.

Findings

Congress makes the following findings:

(1)

During World War II, the United States Government deemed as enemy aliens more than 600,000 Italian-born and 300,000 German-born United States resident aliens and their families, requiring them to carry Certificates of Identification and limiting their travel and personal property rights. At that time, these groups were the two largest foreign-born groups in the United States.

(2)

During World War II, the United States Government arrested, interned, or otherwise detained thousands of European Americans, some remaining in custody for years after cessation of World War II hostilities, and repatriated, exchanged, or deported European Americans, including American-born children, to European Axis nations, many to be exchanged for Americans held in those nations.

(3)

Pursuant to a policy coordinated by the United States with Latin American nations, thousands of European Latin Americans, including German and Austrian Jews, were arrested, relocated to the United States, and interned. Many were later repatriated or deported to European Axis nations during World War II and exchanged for Americans and Latin Americans held in those nations.

(4)

Millions of European Americans served in the armed forces and thousands sacrificed their lives in defense of the United States.

(5)

The wartime policies of the United States Government were devastating to the German American and Italian American communities, individuals, and families. The detrimental effects are still being experienced.

(6)

Prior to and during World War II, the United States restricted the entry of Jewish refugees who were fleeing persecution or genocide and sought safety in the United States. During the 1930s and 1940s, the quota system, immigration regulations, visa requirements, and the time required to process visa applications affected the number of Jewish refugees, particularly those from Germany and Austria, who could gain admittance to the United States.

(7)

The United States Government should conduct an independent review to fully assess and acknowledge these actions. Congress has previously reviewed the United States Government's wartime treatment of Japanese Americans through the Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians. An independent review of the treatment of German Americans and Italian Americans and of Jewish refugees fleeing persecution and genocide has not yet been undertaken.

(8)

Time is of the essence for the establishment of commissions, because of the increasing danger of destruction and loss of relevant documents, the advanced age of potential witnesses and, most importantly, the advanced age of those affected by the United States Government’s policies. Many who suffered have already passed away and will never know of this effort.

3.

Definitions

In this Act:

(1)

During World War II

The term during World War II refers to the period beginning September 1, 1939, and ending December 31, 1948.

(2)

European Americans

(A)

In general

The term European Americans refers to United States citizens and resident aliens of European ancestry, including Italian Americans, German Americans, Hungarian Americans, Romanian Americans, and Bulgarian Americans.

(B)

German Americans

The term German Americans refers to United States citizens and resident aliens of German ancestry.

(C)

Italian Americans

The term Italian Americans refers to United States citizens and resident aliens of Italian ancestry.

(3)

European Latin Americans

The term European Latin Americans refers to persons of European ancestry, including German or Italian ancestry, residing in a Latin American nation during World War II.

(4)

Latin American nation

The term Latin American nation refers to any nation in Central America, South America, or the Caribbean.

I

Commission on Wartime Treatment of European Americans

101.

Establishment of Commission on Wartime Treatment of European Americans

(a)

In general

There is established the Commission on Wartime Treatment of European Americans (referred to in this title as the European American Commission).

(b)

Membership

The European American Commission shall be composed of 7 members, who shall be appointed not later than 90 days after the date of the enactment of this Act as follows:

(1)

3 members shall be appointed by the President.

(2)

2 members shall be appointed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, in consultation with the minority leader.

(3)

2 members shall be appointed by the majority leader of the Senate, in consultation with the minority leader.

The selections of the members of the European American Commission shall be done to ensure that all of the members are fully able to adequately and fairly review the facts and discharge the duties of the commission without bias.
(c)

Terms

The term of office for members shall be for the life of the European American Commission. A vacancy in the European American Commission shall not affect its powers, and shall be filled in the same manner in which the original appointment was made.

(d)

Representation

The European American Commission shall include two members with professional expertise relating to the treatment of Italian Americans and two members with professional expertise relating to the treatment of German Americans.

(e)

First Meeting

The President shall call the first meeting of the European American Commission not later than 120 days after the date of the enactment of this Act.

(f)

Quorum

Four members of the European American Commission shall constitute a quorum, but a lesser number may hold hearings.

(g)

Chairs

The European American Commission shall elect a Chairperson and Vice Chairperson from among its members. The term of office of each shall be for the life of the European American Commission.

(h)

Compensation

(1)

In general

Members of the European American Commission shall serve without pay.

(2)

Reimbursement of expenses

All members of the European American Commission shall be reimbursed for reasonable travel and subsistence, and other reasonable and necessary expenses incurred by them in the performance of their duties.

102.

Duties of the European American Commission

(a)

In general

The European American Commission shall review the United States Government’s wartime treatment of European Americans and European Latin Americans, as provided in subsection (b).

(b)

Scope of review

The European American Commission’s review shall include the following:

(1)

A comprehensive review of the facts and circumstances surrounding action by the United States Government during World War II with respect to European Americans and European Latin Americans pursuant to United States laws and directives, including the Alien Enemies Acts (50 U.S.C. 21 et seq.), Presidential Proclamations 2526, 2527, 2655, 2662, and 2685, Executive Orders 9066 and 9095, and any directive of the United States Government pursuant to these and other pertinent laws, proclamations, or executive orders, including registration requirements, travel and property restrictions, establishment of restricted areas, raids, arrests, internment, exclusion, policies relating to the families and property that excludees and internees were forced to abandon, internee employment by American companies (including a list of such companies and the terms and type of employment), exchange, repatriation, and deportation, and the immediate and long-term effect of such actions, particularly internment, on the lives of those affected. This review shall also include a list of—

(A)

all temporary detention and long-term internment facilities in the United States and Latin American nations that were used to detain or intern European Americans and European Latin Americans during World War II (in this paragraph referred to as World War II detention facilities);

(B)

the names of European Americans and European Latin Americans who died while in World War II detention facilities and where they were buried;

(C)

the names of children of European Americans and European Latin Americans who were born in World War II detention facilities and where they were born; and

(D)

the nations from which European Latin Americans were brought to the United States, the ships that transported them to the United States and their departure and disembarkation ports, the locations where European Americans and European Latin Americans were exchanged for persons held in European Axis nations, and the ships that transported them to Europe and their departure and disembarkation ports.

(2)

An assessment of the underlying rationale of the decision of the United States Government to develop the programs and policies described in paragraph (1), the information the United States Government received or acquired suggesting these programs and policies were necessary, the perceived benefit of implementing such programs and policies, and the immediate and long-term impact of such programs and policies on European Americans and European Latin Americans and their communities.

(3)

A brief review of the participation by European Americans in the United States Armed Forces, including the participation of European Americans whose families were excluded, interned, repatriated, or exchanged.

(4)

A recommendation of appropriate remedies, including public education programs and the creation of a comprehensive online database by the National Archives and Records Administration of documents related to the United States Government’s wartime treatment of European Americans and European Latin Americans during World War II.

(c)

Field hearings

The European American Commission shall hold public hearings in such cities in the United States as it considers appropriate.

(d)

Report

The European American Commission shall submit a written report of its findings and recommendations to the Congress not later than 18 months after the date of the first meeting called pursuant to section 101(e).

103.

Powers of the European American Commission

(a)

In general

The European American Commission or, on the authorization of the Commission, any subcommittee or member thereof, may, for the purpose of carrying out the provisions of this title, hold such hearings and sit and act at such times and places, and request the attendance and testimony of such witnesses and the production of such books, records, correspondence, memorandum, papers, and documents as the Commission or such subcommittee or member considers advisable. The European American Commission may request the Attorney General to invoke the aid of an appropriate United States district court to require, by subpoena or otherwise, such attendance, testimony, or production.

(b)

Government information and cooperation

The European American Commission may acquire directly from the head of any department, agency, independent instrumentality, or other authority of the executive branch of the Government, available information that the European American Commission considers useful in the discharge of its duties. All departments, agencies, and independent instrumentalities, or other authorities of the executive branch of the Government shall cooperate with the European American Commission and furnish all information requested by the European American Commission to the extent permitted by law, including information collected under the Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians Act (Public Law 96–317; 50 U.S.C. App. 1981 note) and the Wartime Violation of Italian Americans Civil Liberties Act (Public Law 106–451; 50 U.S.C. App. 1981 note). For purposes of section 552a(b)(9) of title 5, United States Code (commonly known as the Privacy Act of 1974), the European American Commission shall be deemed to be a committee of jurisdiction.

104.

Administrative provisions

The European American Commission may—

(1)

appoint and fix the compensation of such personnel as may be necessary, without regard to the provisions of title 5, United States Code, governing appointments in the competitive service, and without regard to the provisions of chapter 51 and subchapter III of chapter 53 of such title relating to classification and General Schedule pay rates, except that the compensation of any employee of the Commission may not exceed a rate equivalent to the rate payable under GS–15 of the General Schedule under section 5332 of such title;

(2)

obtain the services of experts and consultants in accordance with the provisions of section 3109 of such title;

(3)

obtain the detail of any Federal Government employee, and such detail shall be without reimbursement or interruption or loss of civil service status or privilege;

(4)

enter into agreements with the Administrator of General Services for the procurement of necessary financial and administrative services, for which payment shall be made by reimbursement from funds of the Commission in such amounts as may be agreed upon by the Chairperson of the Commission and the Administrator;

(5)

procure supplies, services, and property by contract in accordance with applicable laws and regulations and to the extent or in such amounts as are provided in appropriation Acts; and

(6)

enter into contracts with Federal or State agencies, private firms, institutions, and agencies for the conduct of research or surveys, the preparation of reports, and other activities necessary to the discharge of the duties of the Commission, to the extent or in such amounts as are provided in appropriation Acts.

105.

Authorization of appropriations

There is authorized to be appropriated $600,000 to carry out this title.

106.

Sunset

The European American Commission shall terminate 60 days after it submits its report to the Congress under section 102(d).

II

Commission on Wartime Treatment of Jewish Refugees

201.

Establishment of Commission on Wartime Treatment of Jewish Refugees

(a)

In general

There is established the Commission on Wartime Treatment of Jewish Refugees (referred to in this title as the Jewish Refugee Commission).

(b)

Membership

The Jewish Refugee Commission shall be composed of 7 members, who shall be appointed not later than 90 days after the date of the enactment of this Act as follows:

(1)

3 members shall be appointed by the President.

(2)

2 members shall be appointed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, in consultation with the minority leader.

(3)

2 members shall be appointed by the majority leader of the Senate, in consultation with the minority leader.

The selections of the members of the Jewish Refugee Commission shall be done to ensure that all of the members are fully able to adequately and fairly review the facts and discharge the duties of the commission without bias.
(c)

Terms

The term of office for members shall be for the life of the Jewish Refugee Commission. A vacancy in the Jewish Refugee Commission shall not affect its powers, and shall be filled in the same manner in which the original appointment was made.

(d)

Representation

The Jewish Refugee Commission shall include two members with professional expertise relating to the treatment of Jewish refugees.

(e)

First Meeting

The President shall call the first meeting of the Jewish Refugee Commission not later than 120 days after the date of the enactment of this Act.

(f)

Quorum

Four members of the Jewish Refugee Commission shall constitute a quorum, but a lesser number may hold hearings.

(g)

Chairs

The Jewish Refugee Commission shall elect a Chairperson and Vice Chairperson from among its members. The term of office of each shall be for the life of the Jewish Refugee Commission.

(h)

Compensation

(1)

In general

Members of the Jewish Refugee Commission shall serve without pay.

(2)

Reimbursement of expenses

All members of the Jewish Refugee Commission shall be reimbursed for reasonable travel and subsistence, and other reasonable and necessary expenses incurred by them in the performance of their duties.

202.

Duties of the Jewish Refugee Commission

(a)

In general

The Jewish Refugee Commission shall review the United States Government’s refusal to allow Jewish and other refugees fleeing persecution or genocide in Europe entry to the United States, as provided in subsection (b).

(b)

Scope of review

The Jewish Refugee Commission’s review shall cover the period beginning January 1, 1933, and ending December 31, 1945, and shall include, to the greatest extent practicable, the following:

(1)

A review of the United States Government’s decision to deny Jewish and other refugees fleeing persecution or genocide in Europe entry to the United States, including a review of the underlying rationale of the United States Government’s decision to refuse the Jewish and other refugees entry, the information the United States Government received or acquired suggesting such refusal was necessary, the perceived benefit of such refusal, and the impact of such refusal on the refugees.

(2)

A review of Federal refugee law and policy relating to those fleeing persecution or genocide, including recommendations for making it easier in the future for victims of persecution or genocide to obtain refuge in the United States.

(c)

Field hearings

The Jewish Refugee Commission shall hold public hearings in such cities in the United States as it considers appropriate.

(d)

Report

The Jewish Refugee Commission shall submit a written report of its findings and recommendations to the Congress not later than 18 months after the date of the first meeting called pursuant to section 201(e).

203.

Powers of the Jewish Refugee Commission

(a)

In general

The Jewish Refugee Commission or, on the authorization of the Commission, any subcommittee or member thereof, may, for the purpose of carrying out the provisions of this title, hold such hearings and sit and act at such times and places, and request the attendance and testimony of such witnesses and the production of such books, records, correspondence, memorandum, papers, and documents as the Commission or such subcommittee or member considers advisable. The Jewish Refugee Commission may request the Attorney General to invoke the aid of an appropriate United States district court to require, by subpoena or otherwise, such attendance, testimony, or production.

(b)

Government information and cooperation

The Jewish Refugee Commission may acquire directly from the head of any department, agency, independent instrumentality, or other authority of the executive branch of the Government, available information that the Jewish Refugee Commission considers useful in the discharge of its duties. All departments, agencies, and independent instrumentalities, or other authorities of the executive branch of the Government shall cooperate with the Jewish Refugee Commission and furnish all information requested by the Jewish Refugee Commission to the extent permitted by law. For purposes of section 552a(b)(9) of title 5, United States Code (commonly known as the Privacy Act of 1974), the Jewish Refugee Commission shall be deemed to be a committee of jurisdiction.

204.

Administrative provisions

The Jewish Refugee Commission may—

(1)

appoint and fix the compensation of such personnel as may be necessary, without regard to the provisions of title 5, United States Code, governing appointments in the competitive service, and without regard to the provisions of chapter 51 and subchapter III of chapter 53 of such title relating to classification and General Schedule pay rates, except that the compensation of any employee of the Commission may not exceed a rate equivalent to the rate payable under GS–15 of the General Schedule under section 5332 of such title;

(2)

obtain the services of experts and consultants in accordance with the provisions of section 3109 of such title;

(3)

obtain the detail of any Federal Government employee, and such detail shall be without reimbursement or interruption or loss of civil service status or privilege;

(4)

enter into agreements with the Administrator of General Services for the procurement of necessary financial and administrative services, for which payment shall be made by reimbursement from funds of the Commission in such amounts as may be agreed upon by the Chairman of the Commission and the Administrator;

(5)

procure supplies, services, and property by contract in accordance with applicable laws and regulations and to the extent or in such amounts as are provided in appropriation Acts; and

(6)

enter into contracts with Federal or State agencies, private firms, institutions, and agencies for the conduct of research or surveys, the preparation of reports, and other activities necessary to the discharge of the duties of the Commission, to the extent or in such amounts as are provided in appropriation Acts.

205.

Authorization of appropriations

There is authorized to be appropriated $600,000 to carry out this title.

206.

Sunset

The Jewish Refugee Commission shall terminate 60 days after it submits its report to the Congress under section 202(d).

December 22, 2010

The Committee on Appropriations discharged; committed to the Committee of the Whole House on the State of the Union and ordered to be printed