Today marks the 71st anniversary of FDR signing executive order 9066, which authorized the “indefinite detention” of nearly 150,000 people on American soil.
The order authorized the Secretary of War and the U.S. Army to create military zones “from which any or all persons may be excluded.” The order left who might be excluded to the military’s discretion.
When President Franklin D. Roosevelt inked his name to EO9066 on Feb. 19, 1942, it opened the door for the roundup of some 120,000 Japanese-Americans and Japanese citizens living along the west coast of the U.S. and their imprisonment in concentration camps. In addition, between 1,200 and 1,800 people of Japanese descent watched the war from behind barbed wire fences in Hawaii. Of those interned, 62 percent were U.S. citizens. The U.S. government also caged around 11,000 Americans of German ancestry and some 3,000 Italian-Americans.
Unfortunately, we haven’t learned as much as we should have in the last 71 years, as the passage of the indefinite detention provisions in 2011’s NDAA so clearly shows.