After the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, Hawaii and the Western United States were emmersed in panic.
There was a strong fear of Japanese sabotage that would lead to invasion. Officials across the Western Coast were clamouring for the arrest and confinement of all enemy aliens. California was at the forefront of the hysteria because of its large Japanese and Japanese-American population. Numerous boards, District Attorneys, and other official bodies were consistently voting to restrict and remove the Japanese population. Oregon and Washington also followed suit. In February 1942 a congressional delegation made up of Western States demanded the urgent removal of all persons of Japanese lineage, aliens and citizens alike, from the strategic areas of California, Oregon and Washington. As a result, President Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066 on February 19, 1942 to create camps to detain persons of Japanese lineage, which included both aliens and United States Citizens. Japanese removal begins almost immediately.
In Arizona, two camps were established, the
Poston Relocation Camp.
(AKA Colorado River Relocation Camp)
Opened May 8, 1942. Closed November 28, 1945. Peak population 17,814. Origin of prisoners: Southern California, Kern County, Fresno, Monterey Bay Area, Sacramento County, Southern Arizona. 24 Japanese Americans held at Poston later lost their lives in World War II.2 Poston was divided into three separate camps -- I, II, and III.
December 17, 1944
Public Proclamation No. 21 issued by Major General Henry C. Pratt (effective January 2, 1945), allowing evacuees to return home and lifting contraband regulations. The next day, two years and five months after it was filed, the Endo case was ruled on in the Supreme Court -- the WRA cannot detain "loyal" citizens. Executive Order 9066 and the evacuation was upheld in the Korematsu case.