Japanese Americans joined together with Native Americans and Immigrant Rights advocates to protest immigration detention at Fort Sill, a former WWII prison camp

Today, Japanese Americans, Native Americans and Immigrant Rights advocates joined together to protest immigration detention at Fort Sill, the former site of a WWII prison camp for people of Japanese ancestry.

Groups organized in response to the news that the Trump administration plans to incarcerate 1,400 migrant children there next month, yet another shocking move from his anti-immigrant agenda.

“The use of Fort Sill, a former internment camp, for the detention of 1,400 children illustrates the deep history of exclusion and incarceration of people based on their ethnic and national identities in the U.S.,” said Silky Shah, Executive Director of Detention Watch Network.

“This model proves that once structures of detention and incarceration are built, they will eventually be filled when under the helm of an anti-immigrant administration.”

During WWII, the U.S. government imprisoned 700 people of Japanese ancestry at Ft. Sill, many of them permanent residents, who were ineligible to become U.S. citizens due to
racially-restricted naturalization laws.

A father of 11 who ran to the fence in grief and confusion was shot to death in 1942. Ft. Sill’s history includes boarding schools for Indigenous children and the forced incarceration of relocated members of the Apache nation.

“This place represents pain and suffering for people of color,” said Satsuki Ina, a survivor of the WWII camps and a member of Tsuru For Solidarity. “We are here today to be the allies that we needed during WWII when we were imprisoned.”

There was a press conference held at Ft. Sill’s Bentley Gate entrance, followed by a rally at Shepler Square Park.

At the rally, groups hung paper cranes on the military base and held up banners and signs that read: “Stop Repeating History.” Footage will be uploaded here.

“The inhumane nature of immigration detention for children and adults today alarmingly mirrors the injustices that my family faced so many years ago,” said Mike Ishii of Tsuru For Solidarity.

“Incarceration is not the answer: not for asylum seekers, or for anyone else. It’s a punitive system where lives are in jeopardy.”

Source: Tsuru for Solidarity, Detention Watch Network, Densho, ACLU of Oklahoma, Japanese American National Museum, Japanese American Citizens League, Little Tokyo Service Center, Minoru Yasui Legacy Project, Manzanar Committee, Nikkei Progressives, Nikkei for Civil Rights & Redress