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1942. Min Yasui was the first to test the constitutionality of the internment of 120,000 Japanese Americans solely because of their ancestry. Decades later the government was found to have falsified evidence to win its case before the Supreme Court.
The evacuation came out of Executive Order 9066. The thing that struck me immediately was that the military was ordering the civilian to do something. In my opinion, that's the way dictatorships are formed. And if I, as an American citizen stood still for this, I would be derogating the rights of all citizens. By God, I had to stand up and say, "That's wrong." I refused to report for evacuation. Sure enough, within the week, I got a telephone call from the military police saying, "We're coming to get you." I was thrown into the North Portland Livestock Pavilion where Japanese Americans had been put. In September, they started moving us into the desert camps. You were surrounded with barbed-wire fences. There were armed guards, search lights, and machine-gun nests. We wondered how long we were going to be there. What was going to happen? No one knew. By then, we had heard rumors of forced labor camps in Germany. Were they, indeed, as Westbrook Pegler and others were suggesting, going to castrate the men and ship them back to Japan? These things were in the paper constantly: Make them suffer. Make them hurt. And you keep thinking, "What did I do?"