America’s Other Internment: World War II and the making of modern human rights

Seng-hua Mak, Stephen. America’s other internment: World War II and the making of modern human rights, Ph.D. thesis, Northwestern University, 2009.

INS internees developed their rights in an international human rights framework, in contrast to Japanese Americans, who pressed their claims within a civil rights context. Neither immigrants to nor citizens of the U.S., INS internees interpreted their rights under international law in terms of food, housing, work, and family – rights as parents and the right to family reunification – and their experience became a basis for postwar revision to the Geneva Convention. Japanese Americans, however, had little recourse during the war when the U.S. violated their civil rights. Ironically, their non-citizen status allowed INS internees to pursue their rights aggressively in an international human rights framework, whereas Japanese Americans found that citizen status, and their own desire to demonstrate loyalty to the U.S., limited that ability.

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