1940s-The immigrant Japanese farmers faced continued bullying and discrimination from the ethnic majority whites. The Japanese farmers began to ensure their crops were distributed to market, primarily in Los Angeles, where they soon dominated the fruit and vegetable supply. The Japanese also entered produce market in Fresno, Sacramento, Seattle and Salt Lake City. However, in San Francisco, they were excluded from produce marketing. (1)
1941-The value of the truck crops from Japanese farms in California was $32 million (vs WW I peak of $55 million). There was less farm acreage and fall of crop prices during the Depression.
[Economic advancement for the immigrants was achieved by hard work, frugality and willingness to save and invest in their business. The family structure was stable and there were Japanese credit associations. Very few Japanese went on public relief during the Depression.] (1)
December 7, 1941-After Imperial Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, many western state lobbyists who represented competing economic interests or native groups (see NOTE below), pressured Congress and the President to remove persons of Japanese descent from the west coast.
[The FBI had already made lists of those to be arrested—aliens "with something in their record showing an allegiance to the enemy." Three categories of suspects had been developed: "A" category—aliens who led cultural or assistance organizations; "B" category—slightly less suspicious aliens; and "C" category—members of, or those who donated to, ethnic groups, Japanese language teachers and Buddhist clergy.
People in the "A," "B," and "C" categories were quickly arrested in early December 1941.]
Throughout the initial "roundup", Attorney General Biddle voiced concerns that the arrests be orderly. He did not want citizens taking matters into their own hands or directing hostility toward American citizens on the basis of descent. Citizens would not be arrested or apprehended unless there were probable cause to believe that a crime had been committed—the usual standard for arrest. The arrests were not to happen until the FBI was ready to press criminal charges, and the same rules applied to those of German, Italian and Japanese nationality or descent.
December 10, 1942- FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover reported that "practically all" whom he initially planned to arrest had been taken into custody: 1,291 Japanese (367 in Hawaii, 924 in the mainland U.S.); 857 Germans; 147 Italians. However, the government continued to pick up enemy aliens.
February 16, 1942- The Department of Justice held 2,192 Japanese; 1,393 Germans; and 264 Italians. Arrests continued, after that date. Many arrested in the early "roundup" were Issei (immigrant) leaders of the Japanese American community and its organizations.
August 1942-With support from the Native Sons and the American Legion, John T. Regan, Grand Secretary of the Native Sons, sued Cameron King, registrar of voters in San Francisco County, to remove 90 named Nisei (American-born Japanese) from the voting rolls for the August 1942 primaries and to bar them from voting for the duration of WW II. U.S. Webb, California Attorney General, agreed to act as counsel for the Native Sons. In addition, incumbent Attorney General Earl Warren, who was running for California Governor, pledged his support..." (4)
THE ITALIAN EXPERIENCE
Italy was also an official enemy of the U. S. during WWII. 58,000 Italians were forced to relocate from strategic coastal areas in California. The majority voluntarily evacuated and not detained in camps; however, known supporters of Mussolini were arrested and held in prison. The restrictions were stopped in October 1942 and Italy switched sides in 1943, becoming an American ally. However, the large Italian populations of the northeast, especially in munitions-producing centers such as Bridgeport and New Haven, CT, had no restrictions and contributed just as much to the war effort as other Americans.(7)
NOTE: ECONOMIC INTERESTS OR NATIVE GROUPS (2,3,4,5 )
The Hood River Anti-Alien Association pressured states to pass laws prohibiting Japanese immigrants from leasing or owning land.
Native Sons of the Golden West, made up of sons of those who had migrated to California in the 1849 Gold Rush. Membership was limited to white males born in California on or after July 7, 1846.
Native Daughter of the Golden West, formed 10 years after the Native Sons of the Golden West.
[Both Native Sons and Native Daughters of the Golden West groups were among the "loudest and most blatantly racist groups involved in the anti-Japanese movement."(5)]
California Joint Immigration Committee, whose leader, Valentine Stuart McClatchy, was a newspaper publisher and son of James McClatchy, the founder of the liberal Sacramento Bee newspaper. Valentine served at publisher of the Bee newspaper until just before 1920. He was a prominent advocate for Japanese exclusion and used the Bee to promote anti-Japanese propaganda.(5)
California Department of the American Legion
The California State Federation of Labor
Anti-Jap Laundry League
California Real Estate Association. They opposed land ownership by Japanese aliens.
The California State Grange; They were an upwardly dominant white group in rural commmunities who resented the Japanese expansion in agriculture, and viewed it as competition by an "upwardly visible colored minority group" who were advancing in farming. (6)
5. Encyclopedia of Japanese American History; Updated Edition An A-to-Z Reference from 1868 to the Present. Brian Niiya, editor. 2001
6.Prejudice, War and the Constitution: Causes and Consequences of the Evacuation of the Japanese Americans in World War II. Jacobus tenBroek, Edward N. Barnhart, and Floyd W. Matson.University of California Press; 1st ed. (1970).