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The law that was passed in California in 1943 (the one that is relevant to this book) said that isseis (the Japanese who were actually born in Japan and then came to America) could not hold commercial fishing licenses.
This was hugely important because Papa and many other isseis had owned fishing boats. If they could not have a commercial fishing license, they could obviously not be fishermen any more. This led to Papa staying in camp as long as he could since he no longer had anything to do once he got out.
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