Most people know that the United States interned persons of Japanese descent during World War II. Few people know, however, that the government interned persons of German and Italian descent as well. In fact, the internment was part of a larger national security program, in which the government classified non-citizens of all three ethnicities as "enemy aliens" and subjected then to numerous restrictions, including arrest, internment, expulsion from certain areas, curfews, identification cards, loss of employment, and restrictions on travel and property. Four decades after the war, Congress decided to compensate persons of Japanese descent who had been "deprived of liberty or property" by these restrictions. Congress has not, however, redressed the harm done to persons of German or Italian descent. This Note explores why Congress decided to distinguish between victims of Japanese and Italian descent, why the D.C. Circuit held that the distinction does not violate equal protection, and the potential impact of new historical evidence on both conclusions.
Joseph C. Mauro,
Wartime Prejudice Against Persons of Italian Descent: Does the Civil Liberties Act of 1988 Violate Equal Protection?,
Mich. J. Race & L.
Available at: https://repository.law.umich.edu/mjrl/vol15/iss2/5