"Herd 'em up, pack 'em off, and give 'em the inside room in the badlands" (Hearst newspaper column). Many Americans were feeling this way toward people of Japanese descent after the attack on Pearl Harbor. The feelings Americans were enduring were motivated largely by wartime hysteria, racial prejudice, and a failure of political leadership. The Japanese-Americans were being denied their constitutional rights, they were provided poor living conditions in these relocation camps, and by the time apologies and reparations were paid to the Japanese, it was too late.
In the spring of 1942, 120, 000 Japanese people were evacuated from their homes and denied their Constitutional rights. Amendment 14, Section 1 of the Constitution, states that no state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges of immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law. At the time, Executive Order 9066 was justified as a "military necessity" to protect against domestic espionage and sabotage, although there was no due process of law, or any factual basis. Two-Thirds of the Japanese who were interned were legal citizens of the United States, and they were stripped of their life, liberty, and property. The living conditions in these relocation camps were very poor. The camps were blocked in by barbed wire and surrounded by guard towers.
The barracks were of simple frame construction with little protection from the extreme weather. These camps were extremely overcrowded, and many people died from emotional stress, inadequate medical care and suffered from long term health and psychological consequences. The United States put Japanese people in camps, stealing their rights, and placed them in inhumane facilities that no human being should be forced to withstand. By the time America paid reparations, and said their apologies to the Japanese, it was too late. Almost 50 years went by before reparations were paid.
The Civil Liberties Act of 1988 was created in order to give all people that suffered in these camps $20, 000 each, however only 82, 000 out of 120, 000 Japanese people were paid. With this act, the US realized that an injustice was done to Japanese Americans by the evacuation, relocation, and internment of civilians during World War II. By the time that reparations were paid and apologies were said, Americans of Japanese ancestry suffered enormous damages. The losses these people encountered were incalculable. All of which resulted in much suffering, for which appropriate compensation has not yet been made.
During this time of crisis in America, the Japanese people in our country were done a huge injustice. They were stripped their constitutional rights, relocated to a location with poor living conditions, and when America apologized it was just too late. The mental and physical health impacts of this event continues to affect tens of thousands of Japanese Americans.