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Where were internment camps located during WWII?

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Quick Answer

The United States maintained 10 major internment camps holding Japanese-Americans during World War II. These camps were in California, Arizona, Utah, Idaho and Colorado as well as Arkansas and Wyoming. There were also 20 smaller internment camps maintained by the Immigration and Naturalization Service, several of which were in Texas.

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Full Answer

Japanese-Americans were forced into internment camps shortly after Pearl Harbor due to anti-Japanese paranoia. President Roosevelt signed executive order 9066 on Feb. 19, 1942, to force relocation of Japanese-Americans to the camps. These camps, resembling military-style barracks, held 120,000 individuals. The primary camps were in: Tulelake and Manzanar, California; Minidoka, Idaho; Poston and Gila River, Arizona; Topaz, Utah; Rohwer and Jerome, Arkansas, as well as in Heart Mountain, Wyoming, and Amache, Colorado.

Most of the prisoners were evacuated from the West Coast, and individuals were forced to sell their property at a significant loss to make sure the property could be sold before they left. The relocation to internment caps was challenged in the Supreme Court in Hirabayashi v. United States and Korematsu v. United States, where the legality of the relocation was upheld at the time. Finally, in March 1946, the last camp was closed.

Smaller internment camps operated by the INS were also set up, such as in Seagoville, Kennedy and Crystal City, Texas. These camps housed arrested Japanese-Americans, Axis nationals deported from Latin-American countries and Axis sailors in American ports following Pearl Harbor.

The Civil Liberties Act of 1988 acknowledged that injustice occurred and paid each victim of the internment camps $20,000 in reparations.

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