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Mass Incarceration Fact Sheet for
America's Concentration Camps:
Remembering The Japanese American Experience

The United States Government incarcerated 120,313 Japanese Americans during World War II, placing the majority of them in 10 concentration camps run by the War Relocation Authority or in other camps or centers of detention run by the Justice Department or other government agencies.

Americans of Japanese ancestry, 70 percent Americans citizens, were forced off the West Coast or parts of Hawai'i. Most had to sell their homes and businesses at great losses and some lost everything without compensation.

Under the pretext of Japanese Americans being a threat to national security, President Franklin Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, giving the War Department the authority to establish areas from which any and all persons could be excluded. In 1982, the Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians concluded, "Executive Order 9066 was not justified by military necessity. The broad historical causes... were race prejudice, war hysteria, and a failure of political leadership."

Camp Locations:

Tule Lake, California (Opened May 27, 1942. Closed March 20, 1946)
Poston, Arizona (Opened May 8, 1942. Closed Nov. 28, 1945)
Manzanar, California (Opened June 1, 1942. Closed Nov. 21, 1945)
Gila River, Arizona (Opened July 20, 1942. Closed Sept. 28, 1945)
Minidoka, Idaho (Opened Aug. 10, 1942. Closed Oct. 28, 1945)
Heart Mountain, Wyoming (Opened Aug. 12, 1942. Closed Nov. 10, 1945)
Amache, Colorado (Opened Aug. 27, 1942. Closed Oct. 31, 1945)
Topaz, Utah (Opened Sept. 11, 1942. Closed Oct. 31, 1945)
Rohwer, Arkansas (Opened Sept. 18, 1942. Closed Nov. 30, 1945)
Jerome, Arkansas (Opened Oct. 6, 1942. Closed June 30, 1944)
Crystal City, Texas (Opened November 1942. Closed December 1947) Run by the Justice Department. Held nearly 3,000 Japanese Americans.

NOTE: There were 16 Assembly Centers, 13 of them in California. The earliest opened in late March of 1942 and the last ones closed in September of 1942 when the last inmates were transferred to concentration camps.

During World War II, Ellis Island along with several other immigration facilities was used as a detention and internment station for enemy aliens, under the authority of the Immigration and Naturalization Service. It has been estimated that as many as 8,000 aliens spent time at Ellis Island between 1941-1945. Many of them were Japanese who, though living in the U.S. for decades, were forbidden to become citizens.

On August 10, 1988 President Reagan signed the Civil Liberties Act of 1988 into law providing for an official government apology and $20,000 for surviving inmates alive on the day the bill was signed. Also, a $1.25 billion education fund was created.

 

 

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