On Feb. 19, 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued his five-paragraph Executive Order No. 9066, “Authorizing the Secretary of War to Prescribe Military Areas” from which “any or all persons may be excluded.”
The order further stated: “I hereby further authorize and direct all Executive Departments, independent establishments and other Federal Agencies, to assist the Secretary of War or the said Military Commanders in carrying out this Executive Order, including the furnishing of medical aid, hospitalization, food, clothing, transportation, use of land, shelter, and other supplies, equipment, utilities, facilities, and services.” The Supreme Court upheld the order and the subsequent deportation and incarceration of Americans of Japanese ancestry.
Within a month, a 50- to 60-mile-wide swath of the Western coast was designated as Military Area No. 2. It extended from Washington down through California and into parts of Arizona. More than 110,000 residents of this area were given only days to sell off their farms, businesses, homes and other possessions before being shipped off to internment camp barracks around the United States. Although the law extended to other ethnic groups as well, it was primarily applied to Japanese Americans.