Dept of Justice Detention Camps

Over 7,000 Japanese Americans & Japanese from South America were held prisoners in the Dept of Justice internment camps, which were managed by the Immigration & Naturalization Service during WW II. Eight of the 27 Dept of Justice Camps were used to imprison Japanese Americans. These camps were located in Texas, Idaho, North Dakota, New Mexico, and Montana.

The Poston Chronicles frequently announced the names of the paroled Japanese males who were released from the Dept of Justice camps. They were allowed to re-join family members imprisoned at Poston.

The guards at the Dept of Justice Camps were Border Patrol agents. (Military Police were used at the relocation centers.) The Dept of Justice camps were designated for non-American citizens, which included Buddhist ministers, Japanese Language School instructors, Japanese Newspaper workers, and other Japanese Community adult leaders.

About 2,210 people of Japanese ancestry were removed from 12 Latin American countries by the U.S. State & Justice Dept. They were imprisoned at the U. S. Depart of Justice Camps. About 70% were prisoners from Peru, with 80% of those Peruvians being Japanese. The official reasons for the deportations: 1. To secure the Western Hemisphere from internal sabotage, and 2. To provide bartering "pawns" for exchange of American citizens captured by Japan. After the war, 1,400 were not allowed to return to their homes in South America. More than 900 Japanese Peruvians were "voluntarily" deported to Japan. Three hundred went to court and were allowed to settle in the United States.

Seagoville, Texas: Built in 1941 by the Bureau of Prisons as a minimum-security women's reformatory. During WW II, it was used to imprison people from Central & South America, married U. S. couples without children, and about 50 female Japanese Language School teachers from California.

Lordsburg, New Mexico: On July 27, 1942, a border patrol shot 2 critically ill Japanese American prisoners under 'questionable' circumstances.
Photo: Lordsburg, New Mexico Dept of Justice camp prisoners from the Monterey, Salinas and Watsonville area.

Santa Fe, New Mexico
: Originally imprisoned Japanese American men from California. All were transferred to the Relocation Centers or placed in U.S. Army custody by September 24, 1942. Until February 1943, the camp imprisoned German and Italian nationals. From February 1943 to June 1945, over 2,000 Issei (1st generation) and Nisei (2nd generation) Japanese American men were held captive. Many of the prisoners had come from Tule Lake.

Crystal City, Texas
: The German nationals were the first prisoners. The camp was intended for Japanese Americans. The Germans were never relocated. The camp was divided into separate sections for each ethnic group of prisoners. Languages spoken at Crystal City included Japanese, German, Italian, Spanish, and English; ages of the prisoners ranged from newborn to elderly. The Crystal City internment camp had 4 schools to educate the numerous children detained there. The children of Germans and Japanese who desired repatriation were sent to language schools taught by prisoners.

Fort Lincoln, North Dakota
: Was used to house so-called "recalcitrants" from Tule Lake Segregation Center and Santa Fe Dept of Justice Camp who had renounced their American citizenship. Japanese nationals were also imprisoned who were to be repatriated after the war.

Fort Stanton, New Mexico
: Was used to house German nationals during the war. The Dept of Justice also established a disciplinary camp for those deemed "incorrigible agitators." There were 58 Japanese Americans were imprisoned there.

Fort Missoula, Montana: During 1942, about half of those imprisoned at this Dept of Justice camp were Japanese American. The other half were Italian nationals. After the Japanese Americans were given very brief hearings, they were transferred to other Dept of Justice camps or Relocation Centers (to join their families). In 1943, 29 Japanese Americans remained imprisoned at this facility.

For more reading on the Texas Department of Justice facility living conditions, go to
: http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/WW/quwby.html


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