Sunday, January 12, 2020

Japanese Americans Protest ICE Detention Centers

From the Sacramento Bee:

Christine Umeda, 81, has been plagued by the same recurring nightmare for most of her adult life.

She finds herself on a stretcher, unable to move. She is pushed into the back of a large panel truck. The doors slam shut and she screams.

For years she struggled to identify the cause of it, to piece together decades-old memories she seemed to have erased from her mind. Umeda, a second-generation Japanese American, eventually realized the dream was a childhood memory of incarceration during World War II.

Now, as an active member of the Florin Japanese American Citizens League, she is part of a growing cohort of Japanese Americans around the country protesting the detention of immigrant children at the southern border.

Tsuru for Solidarity, as the ad hoc group is called, began with a protest at the South Texas Family Residential Center in March. Since then, they have organized twice at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, in anticipation of a federal plan to house 1,400 migrant children in the same installation that held 700 Japanese immigrants in 1942. In their most recent trip, they joined a national coalition of activist organizations, with representation from Native American tribes, Black Lives Matter Oklahoma, and the local American Civil Liberties Union, according to The Oklahoman.

Migrant detention and refugee resettlement malpractices evoke a familiar past for the Japanese American community: The incarceration of nearly 120,000 Japanese Americans and immigrants labeled as “suspected enemy aliens” during World War II. Tsuru for Solidarity is mobilizing survivors and descendants to the front lines of the battle against mass incarceration and deportation of undocumented immigrants.



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