Holly Yasui, the daughter of Minoru and True Yasui, and co-director of the new documentary film, “Never Give Up! Minoru Yasui and the Fight for Justice,” authored a guest post on Huffington Post published yesterday.
In the last month, many Americans have mobilized and protested, outraged by the Trump administration’s appallingly cruel policy of separating immigrant children from their parents at the U.S. border with Mexico. This pushback compelled President Donald Trump to rescind the policy, which sacrificed innocent, frightened boys and girls as pawns in an ugly political battle. But his executive order can hardly be considered a humanitarian solution since it calls for maintaining “zero tolerance” and incarcerating entire families indefinitely.
Indefinite detention is also cruel. It is not, as one Trump supporter airily claimed, like summer camp.
The Japanese American community knows this. During World War II, all persons of Japanese ancestry on the West Coast ― mostly families with children ― were forced into temporary detention centers, including livestock barns on fairgrounds and horse stalls at racetracks, and then transferred to more permanent camps: Tule Lake, Manzanar, Minidoka, Heart Mountain, Poston, Gila River, Topaz, Amache, Jerome and Rohwer.
Many Japanese Americans, including members of my family, have worked long and hard to preserve the memory and lessons of the U.S. concentration camps in order to prevent intolerant race-based policies from taking root in our country again.