What: All Issues : Making Government Work for Everyone, Not Just the Rich or Powerful : Civil Rights : S 1348. (Immigration overhaul) Amendment by Feingold of Wisconsin that would study the treatment of German Americans, Italian Americans and other Americans of European descent during WWII/On agreeing to the amendment (2007 senate Roll Call 185)
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S 1348. (Immigration overhaul) Amendment by Feingold of Wisconsin that would study the treatment of German Americans, Italian Americans and other Americans of European descent during WWII/On agreeing to the amendment
senate Roll Call 185     Jun 05, 2007
Progressive Position:
Yea
Progressive Result:
Win
This vote was on an amendment by Russell Feingold, D-Wis., that would establish a commission to study how German-Americans, Italian-Americans and others of European descent were treated by the American government during World War II.  The amendment was offered to a bill intended to overhaul America’s immigration system.

Feingold said the poor treatment of Americans of Japanese descent during WWII is well documented:  many were subjected to curfews, and even put into internment camps for years.  But Feingold said it is less well-known how Americans of German and Italian descent were treated.  This amendment, he said, would establish a commission to study these questions.

“Many German Americans, Italian Americans, and European Latin Americans were taken from their homes, subjected to curfews, limited in their travel, deprived of their personal property, and, in the worst cases, placed in internment camps. This amendment would simply create a commission to review the facts and circumstances of the U.S. Government’s treatment of German Americans, Italian Americans, and other European Americans during World War II. It is time for a full accounting of that sad chapter in our history,” Feingold said.  The amendment is based on a stand-alone bill Feingold introduced earlier in the year (S 621).

Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., said he opposes the amendment, as does the Justice Department.  Sessions said the amendment’s “findings” – or statements of fact – “slander America” and are false.

The amendment “finds that ‘thousands of individuals were subjected to devastating violations of civil rights through arrest, internment, property confiscation, deportation, and detrimental effects still being experienced;’ whereas, the Department of Justice asked the senior historian at the U.S. Holocaust Museum about this language and he found that language was outrageously exaggerated and was inaccurate,” Sessions said.

The Senate adopted the amendment by a vote of 67-26.  Democrats were unanimously in support of the amendment, while the Republican caucus was split:  20 voted yes, and 26 voted no.  Thus, the bill went forward including language that would establish a commission to study how German-Americans, Italian-Americans and others of European descent were treated by the government during WWII.
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