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Taken: Oregonians Arrested after Pearl Harbor


The Authority for the Arrests

The United States' overt imprisonment of people of Japanese ancestry began during the bombing of Pearl Harbor. On December 7, 1941, even while the Imperial Japanese air attack was in progress, agents of the U.S. military, the FBI, the Justice Department, and local law enforcement officers fanned out across the United States, Hawaii, and Alaska, to arrest previously designated and (mainly) resident aliens of Germany, Italy, and Japan.

The arrest of these Issei effectively stripped the senior leadership from the Japanese ethnic community, leaving it largely leaderless. The subsequent internment of the Issei, as with selected German and Italian nationals, was conducted under the authority of the Alien Enemies Act of 1798 (Section 21, 50, U.S. Code, 1918). These arrests took place before the mass exclusion and incarceration of the remaining nearly 120,000 Japanese Americans, under the authority of Executive Order 9066.

Based on this original

Santa Fe inmates from Oregon
uploaded by Oregon_Nikkei
A group of Nikkei inmates from Oregon at the Santa Fe camp, in front of the "Liaison Office." Circa 1945. ONLC 1365, gift of Chiye Tomihiro. More »

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