Closing of the Camps

    The WRA started to encourage internees to leave the camps soon after the Supreme Court decision. Internees had to leave the camps on their own.  The WRA provided $25.00 per person, one-way train or bus fare and meals for those with less than $600.  In each camp, mess halls, laundries and industries were closed one by one.  Those who made no plans to leave because they had no place to go were finally forcibly removed by the WRA.


    Resettlement proved to be as difficult as the initial uprooting.  For many who could not find their own housing, the WRA arranged temporary housing in trailer courts and housing units such as those in Griffith park, Harbor City, Long Beach.  Churches opened their doors for temporary hostels until the former detainees could find housing and employment.  Many acts of violence occurred during this period. Many found their boarded up homes vandalized; temples and churches had been broken into and the stored goods were ransacked or stollen.  Gradually, communities began to form as the Nisei sought each other out and began to take care of each other as their parents had done in pre-war days. 

    During the postwar era, many of the discriminatory laws which had been passed in California were later defeated; ie., the Alien Land Law.  Later that same year, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the state could not discriminate against Japanese in issuing fishing licenses.  The Evacuation Claim Act of 1948 signed into law gave limited monetary assistance for losses incurred as a result of the forced uprooting. In 1953, large numbers of Japanese Americans joined the campaign to repeal Title II of
                                                                      the McCarren Walter Act, which would have given the President power to exclude anyone on the basis of “national security.”  The Act also gave naturalization rights to the dwindling and aging Issie population long denied U.S. citizenship.  

    The last concentration camp to close is Tule Lake, which closed in March 1946, although the war ended in August 1945, because of the renunciation crisis. Crystal City, Texas, was a Justice Department camp for aliens, and closed in December 1947, due to many Japanese Latin Americans who had no place to go if they did not want to go to Japan, and were not allowed to return to Peru. They eventually moved to Seabrook Farms, New Jersey. These two stories can be researched in separate articles about the subject.

With nowhere to go, many moved to makeshift trailer parks.

Yoshiko Matsushigo receives her cash grant of $25 before she leaves Poston.   09/1945

Resisters and Court Cases