Digital History>eXplorations>Japanese American Internment>The Decision to Intern>Representative Leland Ford

Representative Leland Ford, Republican of California

December 15, 1941: “These people are American-born,” Ford insisted. “They cannot be deported…whether we like it or whether we do not. This is their country…. [When] they join the armed forces…they must take the oath of allegiance…and I see no particular reason at this particular time why they should not. I believe that every one of these people should make a clear, clean acknowledgement [of loyalty].

January 16, 1942: “To prevent any fifth column activity…all Japanese, whether citizens or not, be placed in inland concentration camps. As justification for this, I submit that if an American born Japanese, who is a citizen, is really patriotic and wishes to make his contribution to the safety and welfare of this country, right here is the opportunity to do so, namely, that by permitting himself to be placed in a concentration camp, he would be making his sacrifice, and he should be willing to do it if he is patriotic and working for us. As against his sacrifice, millions of other native born citizens are willing to lay down their lives, which is a far greater sacrifice, of course, than being placed in a concentration camp. Therefore any loyal Japanese should not hesitate to do that which is absolutely the best for the country, and to operate in such a manner that his particular activity would be for the greatest benefit.

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