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December 6, 2005 > Japanese internment camps may become historical sites

Japanese internment camps may become historical sites

by Rebecca Marcus

Assemblymember Johan Klehs (D-San Leandro) has announced that the United States House of Representatives passed House Resolution 1492, authorizing $38 million in federal funds to restore and protect World War II Japanese internment camps as historical sites.

Klehs authored Assembly Joint Resolution 23, the California legislation that urged Congress to pass HR 1492, introduced by California Congressman Bill Thomas. AJR 23 passed unanimously in both houses of the Legislature and was sent to Congress and President George W. Bush in August.

"California is home to many of the 120,000 Japanese-American citizens who were taken from their homes and interned during the war," said Klehs. "Many Californians suffered in these detention centers, and we owe it to them and their families to preserve those sites and teach our children what happened there. We cannot forget this dark period in the history of our country."

In 1942, President Franklin Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066 to authorize the establishment of internment camps for Japanese-American citizens. The camps were surrounded by barbed wire and patrolled by military police, and many of the citizens detained there lost their homes and businesses. HR 1492 would require the Secretary of the Interior to create a program within the National Park Service to acquire and preserve the historic sites "in order that present and future generations may learn and gain inspiration from these sites and that these sites will demonstrate the Nation's commitment to equal justice under the law." Two of these camps were located in California -Manzanar, in the eastern Sierras, and Tule Lake, near the California-Oregon border.
HR 1492 was approved by a voice vote and now moves to the United States Senate for Approval.

Klehs serves the 18th Assembly District, which includes San Leandro, Hayward, Dublin, most of Castro Valley and Pleasanton, and a portion of Oakland, as well as the unincorporated areas of Ashland, Cherryland and San Lorenzo.

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