Relocation of Japanese (1942)

By: Elenna Vias

Original document.

As was the case with other immigrant groups, Japanese Americans settled in ethnic neighborhoods and established their own schools, houses of worship, and economic and cultural institutions. Ethnic concentration was further increased by real estate agents who would not sell properties to Japanese Americans outside of existing Japanese enclaves and by a 1913 act passed by the California Assembly restricting land ownership to those eligible to be citizens. In 1922 the U.S. Supreme Court, in Ozawa v. United States, upheld the government’s right to deny U.S. citizenship to Japanese immigrants.

Envy over economic success combined with distrust over cultural separateness and long-standing anti-Asian racism turned into disaster when the Empire of Japan attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. Lobbyists from western states, many representing competing economic interests or nativist groups, pressured Congress and the President to remove persons of Japanese descent from the west coast, both foreign born (issei – meaning “first generation” of Japanese in the U.S.) and American citizens (nisei – the second generation of Japanese in America, U.S. citizens by birthright.) During Congressional committee hearings, Department of Justice representatives raised constitutional and ethical objections to the proposal, so the U.S. Army carried out the task instead. The West Coast was divided into military zones, and on February 19, 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued Executive Order 9066 authorizing exclusion. Congress then implemented the order on March 21, 1942, by passing Public Law 503.

After encouraging voluntary evacuation of the areas, the Western Defense Command began involuntary removal and detention of West Coast residents of Japanese ancestry. In the next 6 months, approximately 122,000 men, women, and children were moved to assembly centers. They were then evacuated to and confined in isolated, fenced, and guarded relocation centers, known as internment camps. The 10 relocation sites were in remote areas in 6 western states and Arkansas: Heart Mountain in Wyoming, Tule Lake and Manzanar in California, Topaz in Utah, Poston and Gila River in Arizona, Granada in Colorado, Minidoka in Idaho, and Jerome and Rowher in Arkansas.

Nearly 70,000 of the evacuees were American citizens. The government made no charges against them, nor could they appeal their incarceration. All lost personal liberties; most lost homes and property as well. Although several Japanese Americans challenged the government’s actions in court cases, the Supreme Court upheld their legality. Nisei were nevertheless encouraged to serve in the armed forces, and some were also drafted. Altogether, more than 30,000 Japanese Americans served with distinction during World War II in segregated units.

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The japs began to separate themselves from others starting to be outlawed from certain pubs and places. Many signs were put and read “Japs aren't welcome here.” After the bombing in Hawaii, America had decided that it was a planned attack. The government had decided that they can deny the japanese American citizenship. They then started to remove all Japanese descendents from the west coast, both foreign born and second generation. The government began encouraging evacuation and began removing involuntarily to a concentration type things, Caged in and without rights. There was about 122,000 men, women and children in these “assembly centers”. Trying for the government to make the capturing and restraining of America citizens just. These internment camps were guarded, fenced in and isolated. Over 70,000 American citizens evacuated leaving but losing their rights, Later challenging the government but upheld their legality. The camps were similar to the nazi concentration camps that Hitler controlled. The time where the US said they would never do backfired on them and they did exactly what they said they wouldn't do. Not talked about of untold of many Japanese citizens died being forced to be in these small camps. With years before Hitler had ran the concentration camps and America did not help, not stepping to help the Jewish people. When America did the same the people began to resent the Jewish people. Calling the Japs traders and should leave. American born citizens on American soil was forced to leave or go into camps. As their rights were slowly taken away as America called it just. Along with forcing many US citizens out of America many homes were lost, which meant many homes were lost. In total 1.3 billion dollars had gone down the drain from many American home owners. Along with evacuating the American citizens they had no charges against them. Many citizens tried to go against the court but the supreme court upheld their legality. Along with this many acts were passed to apologize for what occurred to many citizens. They again said that the acts that were passed will not allow for this to happen again.
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