By Michael Hernandez
WASHINGTON (AA) - The U.S. state of California formally apologized Thursday for the internment of thousands of people of Japanese heritage during World War II -- 78 years after a dark era in U.S. history.
Roughly 120,000 people, mainly Japanese-Americans, were rounded up and hauled off to 10 internment camps in the U.S. where they were incarcerated on unfounded suspicions they would side with Japan, a wartime rival to Washington.
President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed off on the mass internments via an executive order Feb. 19, 1942, and the California Assembly's legislation notes a series of state and federal laws and regulations that explicitly discriminated against Japanese-Americans dating to the early twentieth century before issuing an apology.
"The Assembly apologizes to all Americans of Japanese ancestry for its past actions in support of the unjust exclusion, removal, and incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II, and for its failure to support and defend the civil rights and civil liberties of Japanese Americans during this period; and be it further," the legislation reads.
The resolution cleared the California Assembly unanimously, 72-0.
Assembly Al Muratsuchi introduced the bill alongside two other state lawmakers. He explicitly linked the internment of Japanese-Americans with U.S. President Donald Trump's policies affecting Muslim-Americans and immigration clampdown that has led to forced separation of immigrant children from their parents.
"I want CA to lead by example by acknowledging our past mistakes," he said on Twitter, using the state's acronym. "We see history repeating itself with children and families held in cages & Muslim Americans targeted."