This happens in the first chapter of the novel. Jeanne's father is a Japanese immigrant, a longtime resident of the United States who had raised a family there, and his children are American citizens, since they were born on American soil. But World War II was going on, meaning the US was at war with Japan, and suddenly everyone was turning a suspicious eye on Japanese people living in the US. US government officials worried that people of Japanese heritage would sympathize with the Japanese government and that they would commit treason against the US, damaging the war effort.
Normally, people living in the US have certain rights: the police can't take you into custody unless they have a good reason; they can't imprison you for no good reason, certainly not for an extended period of time. But as the narrator, Jeanne, explains, all these rights fell by the wayside when government officials (hastily deputized) took Jeanne's father into custody although he had done nothing wrong. He was only "guilty" of owning a boat-based business, and the US government was especially suspicious of him, imagining that he could use his equipment to communicate with enemy ships.
So, Jeanne's father is taken away for an entire year, creating a terrible upheaval in the family. If this situation happened to a US citizen, there would be an outcry about that citizen's rights: we have a right to a lawyer, a right to a speedy trial, a right to be protected from false imprisonment. But as Jeanne explains, her father was suddenly "a man with no rights."