Shocked by the December 7, 1941, Empire of Japan attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii that propelled the United States into World War II, one U.S. government response to the war (1941-1945) began in early 1942 with the incarceration of thousands of Japanese Americans on the West Coast and the territory of Hawaii. Approximately 120,000 Issei (first generation, Japanese immigrants) and Nisei (second generation, U.S. citizens) from the U.S. West Coast were incarcerated in War Relocation Authority (WRA) camps across the country--based on Executive Order 9066 (Feb. 19, 1942). Through separate confinement programs to the WRA, thousands of Japanese, German, and Italian citizens in the U.S. (and in many cases, their U.S. citizen relatives), classified as Enemy Aliens, were detained by the Department of Justice (DOJ) through its Alien Enemy Control Unit and, in Latin America, by the Department of State’s Special War Problems Division. Additionally, the U.S. Army held enemy aliens across the U.S. wherever the number of apprehensions was too few for the Immigration and Naturalization Service to operate a detention facility.
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Texas Historical Commission
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