Following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued Executive Order 9066, which permitted the military to circumvent the constitutional safeguards of American citizens in the name of national defense. The order set into motion the exclusion from certain areas, and the evacuation and mass incarceration of 120,000 persons of Japanese ancestry living on the West Coast, most of who were U.S. citizens or legal permanent resident aliens. These Japanese Americans, half of whom were children, were incarcerated for up to 4 years, without due process of law or any factual basis, in bleak, remote camps surrounded by barbed wire and armed guards. They were forced to evacuate their homes and leave their jobs; in some cases family members were separated and put into different camps. President Roosevelt himself called the 10 facilities "concentration camps." Some Japanese Americans died in the camps due to inadequate medical care and the emotional stresses they encountered. Several were killed by military guards for allegedly resisting orders.

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