4. Creating exclusion zones made the Japanese in violation of the law
President Roosevelt responded to the public pressure in February 1942, through the use of the Presidential power of an executive order. Through Executive Order 9066, and acting as the Commander in Chief of the United States’ armed forces, Roosevelt authorized the Secretary of War to establish zones in which the Japanese were lawfully excluded. The entire state of California was one such zone. So was most of Washington and Oregon. Curiously, the Hawaiian Territory, where Japanese and those of Japanese descent made up 40% of the population was not. The exclusion was made under the guise of military security, but the bases and shipyards of the Hawaiian Islands were not included. Though several thousand Japanese leaders and influential business owners were detained shortly after the war began in Hawaii, there was no mass detention of Japanese in the islands.
The Executive Order was supported by public law which passed through congress with minimal debate, giving the executive branch the authority to enforce the exclusion through the detention and relocation of Japanese Americans living within the exclusion zones. Roosevelt signed the enforcing legislation on March 12, 1942. Immediately upon the law being signed 120,000 Japanese and Japanese-Americans were in violation of military orders and subject to arrest and detention by military authorities. More than 70,000 of those designated as in violation of the exclusion order were citizens of the United States, having been born there. A relatively few descendants of German and Italian ancestry were detained at the same time, including most German nationals, under the authority granted the president under the Alien and Sedition Act, but German-Americans and Italian-Americans were not detained simply because of their ancestry, as were the Japanese.