Late last week it was reported that administration officials were in Arkansas to scout potential locations to house up to 20,000 children. JACL is deeply disturbed to hear that among the sites considered is one that overlaps the former site of the Rohwer incarceration camp. It is unconscionable that the former site of a Japanese American concentration camp is being considered for the location of a modern site for children.
For many Japanese Americans incarcerated during the war, the sites of the former camps are considered hallowed ground. Earlier this year a group of nearly 100 former incarcerees, incarceree families and descendents, and other civil rights advocates visited the Jerome and Rohwer sites to pay respect to the memory of what happened over 70 years ago.
We are grateful that the elected officials in Arkansas have nearly all expressed their objection to using the Rohwer site to house these children.
President Trump furthered his incorrect lessons learned from the incarceration experience with his tweets this past weekend that immigrants should be denied due process. The lack of due process led to the mass incarceration of nearly 120,000 Japanese and Japanese Americans during WWII under the false pretense that they were a security threat. The President now also resorts to referring to immigrants as invaders.
We call upon the administration to reverse course and stop the indefinite incarceration of immigrant children and their families. It was wrong during WWII and it is wrong today.