On August 7, 1979, U.S. Senators Daniel Inouye, Spark Matsunaga, and S.I. Hayakawa introduced S.1647 to establish the Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians (CWRIC) to investigate and determine whether any wrong was committed by the U.S. government against those American citizens and permanent resident aliens affected by Executive Order 9066, and for other purposes. On July 31, 1980, President Jimmy Carter signed the bill to create the CWRIC.

Over six months in 1981, the CWRIC held 11 hearings in 10 cities, recording testimonies from over 750 witnesses, including 7 Japanese Peruvian (JP) internees in Chicago, New York, and Los Angeles.  In 1983, the CWRIC submitted its findings and recommendations to Congress in its report, Personal Justice Denied, including information about the wartime experience of Germans and German Americans, Aleuts, and Latin Americans. The CWRIC report provided the foundation for the Civil Liberties Act of 1988.

CIVIL LIBERTIES ACT OF 1988 (Public Law 100-383 – August 10, 1988)

On August 10, 1988, the Civil Liberties Act of 1988 was signed by President Ronald Reagan, mandating apology letters and payments of $20,000 to an estimated surviving 60,000 surviving U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents of Japanese ancestry and the establishment of a public education fund.

While Japanese Latin Americans (JLA) were not excluded under the specific language of the legislation, the Department of Justice (DOJ) adopted regulations for enforcement of the CLA whereby JLAs were deemed ineligible because they were “illegal aliens” and not U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents at time of internment.  However, children born in the U.S. to JLA parents during internment [from December 7, 1941 to the erroneous internment closing date of June 30, 1946] who were U.S. citizens and those JLAs who were granted retroactive permanent resident alien status (extending retroactively to the internment period) met the threshold statutory requirement and were eligible for redress under the CLA.

On December 9, 1990, eligible internees of Japanese ancestry, including JLAs, began to receive redress under the CLA.


On June 23, 2000, Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-CA) introduced the “Wartime Parity and Justice Act of 2000”, which was comprehensive redress legislation to (1)  authorize $45 million in research and public education funding to fulfill the educational mandate of the Civil Liberties Act of 1988 (CLA); (2)  provide redress to Japanese Latin Americans who suffered civil and human rights violations by the U.S. government during World War II; and (3)  provide redress to Japanese Americans who had been unjustly denied for technical reasons or narrow interpretations of the CLA (including Issei and adult Nisei who had been used in the hostage exchange as well as US citizens born in camps after the erroneous cut-off date of June 30, 1946).

This bill was introduced in the House of Representatives in 2000 (H.R. 4735), 2001 (H.R. 619), 2003 (H.R. 779), and 2005 (H.R. 893) but died in committee without garnering Republican support.  Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-HI) introduced S.1237, the “Wartime Parity and Justice Act of 2001,” in the Senate.


On February 16, 2006, Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-HI) introduced the “Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Latin Americans of Japanese Descent Act,” S.2296, in the Senate with three co-sponsors.  On March 8, 2006, Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-CA) introduced the companion bill, H.R. 4901, in the House of Representatives with two cosponsors.  This bill sought to establish a congressional commission to continue the investigation into the wartime treatment of JLAs started by the CWRIC in 1981 and to make findings and recommendations.  These bills were reintroduced in 2007 (S. 381, H.R. 662) and 2009 (S. 69, H.R. 42) but were not successful.

On February 11, 2009, S.69 passed the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs.

On March 19, 2009, the Immigration Subcommittee of the House Judiciary Committee held a hearing on the bipartisan H.R. 42.  Former JP internee Libia Yamamoto, Professor Daniel Masterson, and Japanese Peruvian Oral History Project Director Grace Shimizu testified, underscoring the need for a commission to study the wartime relocation and internment of Latin Americans of Japanese descent.

On October 21, 2009, H.R. 42 passed in the House Judiciary Committee.  On November 30, 2010, H.R. 42 was placed on the Union Calendar, but no further action was taken by the House of Representatives.