When President Franklin Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066 on February 19, 1942, all Japanese-Americans were ordered to evacuate the West Coast of the United States. Of the 127,000 Japanese Americans living in the continental United States at the time of Pearl Harbor, 112,000 resided on the West Coast. About 80,000 of these were nisei (literal translation: "second generation"; American-born Japanese with U.S. citizenship) and sansei ("third generation"; the children of Nisei). The rest were issei ("first generation", immigrants born in Japan who were ineligible for citizenship by U.S. law). Ten internment camps were established in the most remote areas of Arkansas, Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, and Wyoming; facilitating the relocation and incarceration of approximately 120,000 people of Japanese ancestry as little as 1/16th percent. Sixty-two percent of the internees were in fact, United States citizens. Interestingly, over 2,200 Japanese from Latin American counties were also held in internment camps run by the Immigration and Naturalization Service. The majority of internees, approximately 1,800, came from Peru, but some originated from Panama, Bolivia, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Ecuador, El Salvador, Mexico, Nicaragua, and Venezuela. Three categories of camps were established. The Civilian Assembly Centers were temporary camps, frequently located at horse tracks, where Japanese-Americans were initially housed, after they were removed from their homes. Eventually, most were sent to Relocation Centers, also known as Internment Camps, while Detention Camps housed those Nikkei who were considered to be troublesome or potentially troublesome.
In 2015, the CSUCI University Archives became a collaborative member of a university-wide (18 CSU campuses) Japanese-American internment archival project initiated by CSU Dominguez Hills, in which approximately 15,000 items will be digitized, including personal writings, photographs, poetry, artwork, organizational records, audiovisual recordings, oral history transcripts, and internment camp publications. CSUCI University Archives is contributing three oral histories and accompanying photographs, which focus on the personal experiences of Marilyn Fordney, Santa Anita Racetrack, Boys Town; George Wakiji, Santa Anita Racetrack, Gila River Relocation Center; and Morris Abe of Tule Lake. The combined efforts of the various CSU Archives and Special Collections departments will create an opportunity for researchers to go beyond the boundaries of traditional research by utilizing various and numerous types of information, thereby gaining personal insight into the lives of those affected. Armed with this evidence, researchers will engage in discourse and reflective thought, evaluating and analyzing events and personalities with both an historical perspective and a 21st Century level of understanding and rationale.