U. S. Executive Order 9066 was a presidential order signed by Franklin D. Roosevelt on February 19, 1942 authorizing the Army to designate military areas from which any persons may be excluded. The words Japanese, or Japanese Americans never appeared but the order was directed mainly against them. This order effectively sent over 120,000 Japanese-Americans to internment camps for the duration of the war. It banned American citizens of Japanese ancestry from a 50-60 mile area along the entire West Coast of the United States and extending into southern Arizona.
This mass removal of persons of Japanese ancestry was ordered by the president, supported by the Justice Department, implemented by the military, and sanctioned by the Supreme Court. It was based on the pretext of military necessity, a justification that later proved groundless and unsupported by any evidence. General John L. DeWitt, the commanding officer of the U.S. Armys Western Defense Command issued a report at the time that stated there were indications that the [Japanese] are organized and ready for concerted actionThe very fact that no sabotage or espionage has taken place to date is disturbing and confirming indication that such action will take place. Following this determination, General DeWitt requested the power to remove all enemy aliens from the West Coast, which was granted by the president through Executive Order 9066.
Executive Order 9066 was rescinded by President Gerald Ford on February 19, 1976. In 1980, President Jimmy Carter created a Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians (CWRIC) to conduct a study of E.O. 9066. After two years, the CWRIC issued its findings in Personal Justice Denied, which determined that the decision to incarcerate was based on race prejudice, war hysteria, and a failure of political leadership. It recommended an official government apology, as well as redress payments of $20,000 to each survivor and a public educational fund to ensure that it not happen again.
Based on the recommendations of the CWRIC, the Civil Liberties Act of 1988 was signed into law by President Ronald Reagan on August 10, 1988.
Authorizing the Secretary of War to Prescribe Military Areas
Whereas the successful prosecution of the war requires every possible protection against espionage and against sabotage to national-defense material, national-defense premises, and national-defense utilities as defined in Section 4, Act of April 20, 1918, 40 Stat. 533, as amended by the Act of November 30, 1940, 54 Stat. 1220, and the Act of August 21, 1941, 55 Stat. 655 (U.S.C., Title 50, Sec. 104);
Now, therefore, by virtue of the authority vested in me as President of the United States, and Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy, I hereby authorize and direct the Secretary of War, and the Military Commanders whom he may from time to time designate, whenever he or any designated Commander deems such action necessary or desirable, to prescribe military areas in such places and of such extent as he or the appropriate Military Commander may determine, from which any or all persons may be excluded, and with respect to which, the right of any person to enter, remain in, or leave shall be subject to whatever restrictions the Secretary of War or the appropriate Military Commander may impose in his discretion. The Secretary of War is hereby authorized to provide for residents of any such area who are excluded therefrom, such transportation, food, shelter, and other accommodations as may be necessary, in the judgment of the Secretary of War or the said Military Commander, and until other arrangements are made, to accomplish the purpose of this order. The designation of military areas in any region or locality shall supersede designations of prohibited and restricted areas by the Attorney General under the Proclamations of December 7 and 8, 1941, and shall supersede the responsibility and authority of the Attorney General under the said Proclamations in respect of such prohibited and restricted areas.
I hereby further authorize and direct the Secretary of War and the said Military Commanders to take such other steps as he or the appropriate Military Commander may deem advisable to enforce compliance with the restrictions applicable to each Military area hereinabove authorized to be designated, including the use of Federal troops and other Federal Agencies, with authority to accept assistance of state and local agencies.
I hereby further authorize and direct all Executive Departments, independent establishments and other Federal Agencies, to assist the Secretary of War or the said Military Commanders in carrying out this Executive Order, including the furnishing of medical aid, hospitalization, food, clothing, transportation, use of land, shelter, and other supplies, equipment, utilities, facilities, and services.
This order shall not be construed as modifying or limiting in any way the authority heretofore granted under Executive Order No. 8972, dated December 12, 1941, nor shall it be construed as limiting or modifying the duty and responsibility of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, with respect to the investigation of alleged acts of sabotage or the duty and responsibility of the Attorney General and the Department of Justice under the Proclamations of December 7 and 8, 1941, prescribing regulations for the conduct and control of alien enemies, except as such duty and responsibility is superseded by the designation of military areas hereunder.
Franklin D. Roosevelt
The White House,
February 19, 1942.