President Franklin Delano Roosevelt signed E.O. 9066 on February 19, 1942 despite the objections of J. Edgar Hoover who assured the FBI arrests and observations were adequate to thwart any acts of espionage, and Attorney General Francis Biddle who through his own investigations, found no military threat. This order authorized the secretary of war to define military areas "from which any or all persons may be excluded as deemed necessary or desirable." Prison terms and fines were issued if civilians violated military orders. 

General John L. DeWitt, Military Commander of the Western Defense Command, issued over 100 military orders which applied only to civilians of Japanese ancestry. One was placing all of them under curfew. Another was that all persons must leave the western half of the West Coast States and southern half of Arizona. Approximately 10,000 moved to other states, but with bank accounts frozen, many did not have the funds for such an endeavor.  Others feared being kicked from town to town “like the ‘Okies’ of John Steinbeck’s novel.” Some states enacted anti-evacuee laws, such as Arizona, where a hotel room or meal could not be purchased without publishing a public notice of intent three times, and filing a copy with the Secretary of State.  Standard Oil was fined $1,000 for selling $9.25 worth of gas to a Nisei. Moving to unknown areas also did not assure the same hatred and fear would not exist.

From February 28- March 2, 1942, Congress held hearings whether to proceed with the evacuation, although many believed it was already a forgone conclusion.  Nisei were allowed to testify, and received the support of professors, church men and labor leaders.  The Japanese American Citizens League put forward the position that the JA community contributed greatly to the economy, and as loyal citizens, the evacuation was unnecessary. The forced evacuation was “a travesty on our good name and rights, but would cooperate with the security needs of the country.”  But as the Committee
                                         was preparing to present its findings, the army was already building the detention camps.  

On March 2, DeWitt issued Proclamation No. 1 declaring the western half of the three Pacific western states and the southern third of Arizona military areas where persons of Japanese descent would be evacuated.  “A Jap is a Jap,” DeWitt declared. “There is no way to determine their loyalty. It makes no difference whether he is an American citizen; theoretically he is still a Japanese and you can’t change him.”  Karl Bendetsen, head of the Provost marshall’s Aliens Division and a strong advocate of removal since “there was no way to determine loyalty,” ordered that any person, no matter their age who had "one drop of Japanese blood" were to be removed. This included the removal of infants from orphanages and the transfer of hospital patients, a number of whom died when their care was cut off. 

The Wartime Civil Control Administration (WCCA)was formed to administrate the evacuation. Notices were posted in communities throughout the West Coast in March, giving residents between one and two weeks to report to one of 15 temporary “centers”
                              scattered throughout Arizona, California, Oregon, and Washington, in
                              fairgrounds, livestock exhibition halls, and race tracks, hastily built with
                              barbed wire fencing and guard towers.

                           Some had to live in the horse stalls of Santa Anita Race Track held 18,000 inmates.  One community of nearly 3,000, on Terminal Island in Los Angeles, received 48 hours to evacuate. With many of the men taken by the FBI, their children and wives had to quickly find shelter, often provided by charitable groups.  

    In the second phase, prisoners were moved to one of ten concentration camps in desolate areas of California, Arizona, Utah, Wyoming, Idaho, Colorado, and Arkansas, as the government completed building the barracks each location. By October, all civilians who possessed more than one-sixteenth Japanese ancestry were moved
district by district. 

Expulsion and Detention

"I am determined that if they have one drop of Japanese blood in them, they must go to camp."

Colonel Karl Bendetsen,

General John L. DeWitt, Commander, Western Defense Command, 1942

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