David Chiu, President of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, today introduced a resolution at the Board of Supervisors opposing provisions of a federal law that allows the military to arrest and detain American citizens on U.S. soil without a warrant or due process.
Supervisor Chiu introduces the measure one week before Feb. 19th, the 71st anniversary of President Franklin Roosevelt’s signing of an executive order allowing the government to incarcerate Americans of Japanese descent during World War II.
“By standing by and allowing the NDAA’s indefinite detention provisions to remain law of the land, we risk repeating our history of incarcerating without due process Japanese Americans during World War II,” said Chiu. “I suspect Fred Korematsu, Minoru Yasui, and Gordon Hirabayashi would be livid about this.”
Supervisors John Avalos, London Breed, David Campos, Jane Kim and Eric Mar are co-sponsoring the resolution, which is endorsed by the Coalition for Safe San Francisco and the Bill of Rights Defense Committee.
Provisions of the 2013 National Defense Authorization Act, or NDAA, authorizes the federal government to repeat the forced incarceration in the early 1940s of 120,000 Japanese Americans and Japanese immigrants who spent years in prisons without notice of charges, the right to an attorney, or the right to a trial.
A group of journalists and activists – including Chris Hedges, Daniel Ellsberg, Noam Chomsky, and Jennifer “Tangerine” Bolen – last year filed a lawsuit, Hedges v. Obama, challenging the indefinite detention provisions of the NDAA as unconstitutional.
On Dec. 17th, 2012, the families of Fred Korematsu, Minoru Yasui, and Gordon Hirabayashi filed an amicus brief in the Hedges case with in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. The brief describes a terrifying parallel to the incarceration of Americans of Japanese ancestry during World War II.
Under the pretense of national security, the NDAA essentially repeats the decisions in the discredited World War II cases of Korematsu, Hirabayashi, and Yasui, allowing the government to imprison people without any due process rights for an indefinite time.