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“Assembly and Relocation Centers,” map, Personal Justice Denied: Report of the Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians, 1982

The U.S. government forcibly uprooted Japanese Americans from their homes and livelihoods to two “Military Areas” on the West Coast during World War II. Denied due process, many were first taken to “Assembly Centers,” temporary camps often located at horse tracks. Most were eventually imprisoned in “Relocation Centers,” known as internment camps.  A 1982 congressional commission stated that the internments were a grave injustice.

Records of Temporary Committees, Commissions, and Boards, National Archives and Records Administration

Assembly and Relocation Centers

Asian American Policy during World War II

Following the attack on Pearl Harbor, President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued Executive Order 9066 on February 19, 1942. It required the forced relocation and internment of more than 110,000 Japanese Americans, most of whom were native-born American citizens. Congress appropriated funds for its implementation and provided penalties for its violation. In contrast, Congress approved legislation in 1943 to shore up relations with China, a key ally, and lifted restrictions on Chinese immigration to the United States for the first time since 1882.

We recommend the immediate evacuation of all persons of Japanese lineage . . . whose presence shall be deemed dangerous or inimical to the defense of the United States

Representative Clarence F. Lea of California, Recommendations of the Pacific Coast Subcommittee on Alien Enemies and Sabotage, February 13, 1942