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Japanese American internment camp survivors hold protest outside migrant family jail (Daily Kos)


Japanese American internment camp survivors hold protest outside migrant family jail – By Gabe Ortiz (Daily Kos) / April 1 2019

Six Japanese Americans who were imprisoned in U.S. internment camps during World War II were among more than 100 demonstrators who staged a peaceful protest outside a migrant family jail in Dilley, Texas, over the weekend, the San Antonio Express-News reports. The group, organized by the Crystal City Pilgrimage Committee, Grassroots Leadership, and Crystal City Independent School District, “crowded along the barbed-wire fence with one message: Stop repeating history.”

Children do not belong in detention, period, yet the South Texas Family Residential Center has jailed babies as young as 5 months old. Currently, it jails more than 1,000 women and kids, and is just under an hour away the former site of the Crystal City Family Internment Camp, where Dr. Satsuki Ina was imprisoned as a child. She was at Dilley on Saturday, she said, “because nobody stood up for us.”

“We had never committed a crime except to have the face of the enemy,” she said. “But I feel empowered today that we can use our voices, voices that we didn’t have then to speak out against injustice and inhumane treatment of innocent human beings.” At Dilley, the group of demonstrators hung thousands of paper cranes, lovingly hand-folded by Americans all across the country, on the fence surrounding the facility.

“The story of the crane as symbol of nonviolence and human love is a uniquely Japanese cultural story,” Mike Ishii of the New York Day of Remembrance told NBC News, “and we want to bring it to this struggle.” Advocates plan to take the cranes to other protests across the U.S., but their first stop carries additional significance. “There is a deep sense of outrage that mass incarcerations are happening again in the United States,” Ishii said, “and we intend to be the allies that we needed during WWII.”

Dilley is just one of the facilities across the country holding large numbers of vulnerable children and families, some even in violation of a long-standing court agreement. At the migrant family jail in Karnes, Texas, immigration officials have been accused of illegally jailing children and their families for weeks on end. Advocates were successful in pushing for the end of the prison camp for migrant kids in Tornillo, Texas, but the administration has instead increased the capacity of the prison camp for kids in Homestead, Florida.

Outside Dilley, Koz Naganuma, another internment camp survivor, ”said it is important to continue getting the word out about what is happening in border towns and detention camps. ‘It’s unthinkable at this day and age,’ he said, that over 75 years later ‘this is still happening.’”

Dr. Satsuki said many of these children and families are being demonized and imprisoned due to the same kind of hatred that was directed at Japanese American families decades ago. “Justified in today’s immigration hysteria, we are hearing again, similar claims of ‘economic threat,’ ‘spies and terrorists,’ ‘unassimilable’ race and religion, etc., echoed in today’s rhetoric calling for bans and walls,” she said. “We will not be silent.”


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