Tsuru for Solidarity Statement on the Nakamoto Group’s Use of Japanese American History to Justify Profiting Off Inhumane ICE Detention Facilities

Statement by Tsuru for Solidarity (www.tsuruforsolidarity.org):

Jennifer Nakamoto, the CEO of the Nakamoto Group, is expected to testify at today’s congressional hearing entitled “Oversight of ICE Detention Facilities: Is DHS Doing Enough?” at 2:00 pm Eastern Time in 310 Cannon House Office Building, Washington, DC 20515. Tsuru for Solidarity vehemently condemns Ms. Nakamoto’s misuse of Japanese American history in her efforts to justify the company’s complicity and profiteering off of the mass incarceration of immigrants.

The Nakamoto Group conducts detention facility inspections nationwide for ICE, and has been repeatedly criticized for rubber-stamping dangerous and inhumane conditions in these facilities. In response to prior congressional scrutiny, Ms. Nakamoto invoked her family’s experience of Japanese incarceration to shield herself from criticism.

“It is appalling that Ms. Nakamoto is invoking our shared history and trauma as Japanese Americans to justify her profit-seeking and to fend off legitimate inquiries into the inhumane treatment of people in ICE custody. We reject Ms. Nakamoto’s statements in the strongest terms. She does not speak for us or for other Japanese Americans,” said Satsuki Ina, Tsuru for Solidarity Steering Committee Co-Chair. “I was a child prisoner in a U.S. concentration camp during World War II. The commonalities between what I experienced and what children suffer in detention today are what spurred me to take action to shut down ICE’s modern-day concentration camps. Japanese American ancestry should never be used as an excuse for complicity in such abuses.”

Satsuki Ina, 75, was born at the Tule Lake concentration camp, where her parents were sent for protesting their unjust incarceration during WWII. She is Professor Emeritus at California State University, Sacramento, and has a private psychotherapy practice specializing in community trauma.

Tsuru for Solidarity (www.tsuruforsolidarity.org) is a nonviolent, direct action project of Japanese American social justice advocates working to end detention sites and support front-line immigrant and refugee communities that are being targeted by racist, inhumane immigration policies. We stand on the moral authority of Japanese Americans who suffered great injustices in U.S. concentration camps during WWII and we say, “Stop Repeating History!” We are planning a “National Pilgrimage to Close the Camps” in Washington, D.C. in June, 2020.