After reading Houston’s memoir Farewell to Manzanar, it brings out the treatment of the government of the United States to the Japanese living in the country at the time of world war two were discriminative. In the Executive Order 9066, it is evident that the policies the government was trying to enforce were solely aimed at oppressing the Japanese. The order opened up a gap that would allow the military commanders to make the decisions on who should be evacuated from the military area. This freedom led to the Japanese being evacuated to concentration camps since they were viewed as threats to the United States. Fred Korematsu was charged with defying military orders to evacuate and detained. According to him, he had not committed any crime to warrant him to be charged. More to that, Korematsu was born in the United States and is thus a citizen of the United States. By arresting him, the government had violated his rights as a citizen of the United States. When he tried to defend himself at the Supreme Court, the judgment passed overlooked the provisions in the law for him as a citizen. This is because it had violated the fourth, fifth and fourteenth amendments.
The fourth amends requires that everyone be accorded the right to be secure with everything that belongs to them. It is provided that they shall not be subjected to unreasonable investigation, detention and also any violations of whatsoever nature unless with conclusive evidence. The Fifth Amendment provides for a person’s freedom in the United States to be respected and if it is to be withdrawn then there has to be a legal process to do as such. The fourteenth amendment states that any an individual who is a United States citizen either through birth or by naturalization remains to be a citizen.
The government thus is not in a capacity to authorize any laws that will deprive any citizens of their rights or invulnerability as citizens of the United States. Korematsu’s arrest and detention because of the order issued by the president therefore shows that the government was indeed racially discriminating him. There was no evidence to prove that Korematsu was indeed a threat to the United States and also he should have been allowed to continue enjoying his freedom since he was a citizen of the United States by birth. By convicting him because he was Japanese, the government showed discrimination towards a race. Part A
During Korematsus trial, a 6-3 majority supported his conviction. Justice Hugo Black who authored for the majority suggested that the country was indeed at war with the Japanese and thus, Korematsu’s conviction was not because he was of Japanese origin or anything, but rather the fact that he had defied the military orders to assemble with other japanese. Thus he was being arrested due to his ancestral background.
Justice Owen Roberts greatly disagreed with the conviction of Korematsu. In his dissenting he shows that the reasons behind Korematsu’s arrest are not valid and deny him his rights. He says that even if Korematsu would have obeyed the orders he would still have had his rights violated. He was avoiding being incarcerated in the concentration camps and now he is fighting not to be convicted. Both options that the state is presenting to him appear to be one and the same thing. Thus his freedom in that country has already been denied since he cannot be anywhere else other than under tight security. According to Judge Owens this is unfair and shows discrimination against a citizen of the United States.
Justice Frank Murphy also disagrees with the conviction. In dissenting he claims that what the government is doing is actually legalizing racism. He claims that even though every individual has a heritage of their own, so long as they are citizens of the united they have agreed to follow the set laws in the constitution of that country. Thus, there is no valid reason available to justify any acts of racial discrimination. According to him every citizen should be treated equally as provided for by their rights and freedoms in the constitution. Thus, the action of ordering for the relocation of the Japanese was an outright act of racial discrimination and thus no equality was being applied as stipulated in the constitution.
In Justice Jackson’s dissent, he asserts that the court might have been powerless to overrule the order by the military but if it is unconstitutional it should not be upheld. This is because the moment the court ruled in favor of the order by the military; it showed that racial discrimination can be rationalized in the constitution. This will result to always bending the law so as to accommodate more claims that might arise in the future, and this might lead to destroying the laws that press racial discrimination. He says that the only crime that Korematsu had committed was being born from a different ancestral background. The constitution protects him against being charged with crimes that Jackson calls hereditary. It is not right therefore to charge him with a crime committed by his parents since it was not his wish that he was born there.
The United States must have regretted its policies at the end of it all. This is because after a long while new evidence that was meant to have freed the Japanese from concentration camps was unearthed. It supported that the Japanese were not in any way a threat to the United States security. Those who were actually spying for Japan in the United States were not people of Japanese origin. They were indeed American citizens. This led to the states releasing the Japanese from the camps since it was now evident that they were not responsible for the claims that had been leveled against them. Part B
Many states in the United States of America have already come up with laws that tend to limit the existence of immigrants in these states. These anti immigrant laws give way to racial discrimination against the immigrants both by the state authorities and the residents. Some of the states that have already passed these laws include Alabama, Arizona, Georgia, Mississippi, Tennessee, Virginia, and Missouri.
The state of Arizona was the first to introduce the S.B. 1070. There are four laws in the act that are deemed to complicate the lives of the Latino immigrants in Arizona. According to Gutentag (2012), the four unconstitutional clauses are, section 2(B) which is the dishonorable “show me your papers”, which gives the law enforcement officers the right to demand for legal registration documents that allow someone to be in the country. This is when an officer has sustainable suspicion that the person would happen to be an illegal immigrant. The law calls for these individuals to be kept in detention until there is proof that they are indeed in the country legally. Following all these reasons, S.B. 1070 subjects anyone suspected of not being in the possession of documentation to prove their legal status of immigration to continual interrogations, detentions, and status checks by police. In the event that a law enforcement officer fails to totally put into practice the provisions, the officer can be sued by any resident and also incur bills informs of fines daily due to sympathizing with the laws.
Another clause that raises concerns over the legalization of racial discrimination is section 5(C), which makes it a crime for any unregistered immigrant to work or even search for a job in Arizona. This translates to the fact that the unregistered immigrants do not have the means to make a living anymore. This is aimed at ensuring that they cannot survive in the state and thus forcing them to leave for their home countries. This affects an entire family and thus children that have been born in the united states of immigrant parents will also have to leave. But, this also harms citizens since these children are citizens by birth. This provision is thus meant to racially discriminate people based on their ethnicity since even citizens are suffering due to belonging to a foreign ethnicity. Section 3is another provision that has been criticized for promoting racial discrimination.
The section makes it a crime for an individual to violate the federal alien registration provision. This means that playing host to an illegal immigrant makes you a criminal too. Even in work places or even driving an alien around will equate to committing a crime. This means that no one will want to be associated with the immigrants and thus giving rise to the racial discrimination. The fourth provision in the S.B. 1070 that has come under much criticism is section 6. Section 6 gives permission to the Arizona law enforcement officers to hold and detain someone without a warrant for having committed a “deportable” public offense. If an individual is not in an immediate position to submit their immigration documents they are arrested. Just because they are not in possession of the documents, they are arrested without evidence that they have committed an offense that would necessitate their deportation.
In the state of Alabama, they have also enacted their anti immigrant laws that borrow much from those in Arizona. Arizona has introduced the HB 56 to help the state’s law enforcement officers crack down on unregistered immigrants. One of its similarities to the Arizona S.B. 1070 is the act of law enforcement insist on viewing an individual’s papers that either prove their citizenship or their immigration status. This is to be done during any random stops by police officers in the event they suspect that some one may be in the country illegally.
Georgia has also put into action its own anti immigration laws. The H.B. 87 also resembles the S.B 1070 in Arizona in great detail. Georgia’s anti immigration laws have defined hosting or even driving unregistered immigrants knowingly as a crime. This means that unregistered immigrants cannot even use the public means of transport making them become segregated in society. It also creates a contrast that offering help to someone in need is a crime. The law enforcement officers have also being given authority to authorize an individual anywhere they are to provide their immigration papers. This means that the movement of the immigrants is limited ensuring that the streets stay clean of a certain race.
This is racially discriminating them and also at the same time it deprives them of their freedom to movement. Also for those who are registered, they will have to carry around their documents so as to avoid arrest and long detention hours. The laws also provide for the residents of Georgia to sue law enforcement officers if they feel that they are not enforcing the immigration laws of the state. This might bring rise to officers selecting the immigrants to stop them regularly since it is easy to identify them, and put them in detention without any warrants. The law further gives the officers immunity in that there are no consequences that will follow after they have brought someone in to verify their legal status. Employers are also being forced to check for the records of an individual before they employ any immigrants so as to avoid being arrested due to playing host to them.
These laws all fail to satisfy the rights specified in the constitution in the fourth, fifth and fourteenth amendments. Every individual is only eligible for searches if there is satisfactory evidence to do so. And unless the evidence is there, then one is supposed to be secure with all that
belongs to them. The laws do not protect the individuals from being detained without having committed any crimes. The illegal immigrants are also not given the freedom they deserve to have as residents of the United States. More to this, the laws also expose the immigrants to the vulnerability of being racially discriminated by both the authorities, and the residents of these states. It is ironical that these laws are meant to shield legal citizens of the United States from the immigrants but still end up hurting some of them.
These laws are not intended to solely minimize the illegal entry of people into the United States. They are directed at a particular racial group. The basis for the police to stop someone that is suspected of being an illegal immigrant lies solely on the ethnicity of the individual. And since the police do not want to pay the daily fines, they will have to unlawfully stop and hold all immigrants with no solid reasons. The laws just oppress the immigrants, this is because irrespective of whether one is a citizen or not they have to bear the brunt of belonging to that ethnicity.
All these laws introduced in these states are aimed at oppressing the immigrants. But this brings in great repercussions for the states and also the country as a whole. Since most of these immigrants work in the local businesses or doing the manual farm jobs, the economic status of both the country and those of the individual states may be paralyzed. In Georgia for example, the immigrants work in the farms around the state. Georgia’s agriculture is its main source of income and also to the residents. It also contributes much to the economy of the United States. After the laws were enacted, many immigrants deserted their work places and a lot of crop went to waste. This may reflect in all other states’ economies also. Thus, instead of striving to remove the immigrants it is important that we understand that by coexisting with them we are actually doing more good to our country than harm.
We should all look at the larger picture of what the effects of expelling the immigrants may bring to us. Instead of assuming that since one is a citizen you and the harsh effects from the implementation of these laws, we should look at the effects of these laws on the immigrants’. Does it really have to be that way for them considering the benefits we enjoy due to their presence in the workforce? By eliminating the immigrants, our economy may be hard hit and this will also affect how we carry on with our day to day lives. We will hence be deceiving ourselves that if we let the immigrants’ bear their tribulations alone, then we will live better. These anti immigrant laws are indeed racist since they are only intended for those who the United States is not the country of their ancestors.
Guttentag, Lucas. “Discrimination, Preemption, and Arizona’s Immigration Law – Stanford Law Review.” Stanford Law Review. N.p., 18 June 2012. Web. 8 Dec. 2012. <http://www.stanfordlawreview.org/online/discrimination-preemption>. “Executive Order 9066: The President Authorizes Japanese Relocation.” History Matters: The U.S. Survey Course on the Web. N.p., n.d. Web. 8 Dec. 2012. <http://historymatters.gmu.edu/d/5154/>. Seth, Hoy. “More and More States Introduce Costly Anti-Immigration Bills | Alternet.” Alternet | Alternative News and Information. N.p., 9 Feb. 2012. Web. 8 Dec. 2012. <http://www.alternet.org/story/154072/more_and_more_states_introduce_costly_anti-immigration_bills?paging=off>.