On Saturday, June 22, Japanese-American protesters gathered at Fort Sill in Oklahoma. Earlier in June, the Trump administration made plans to detain undocumented immigrant children in Fort Sill. While many have protested the detainment of undocumented immigrants throughout the course of Donald Trump's presidency, the use of Fort Sill, in particular, has stirred outrage among the Japanese-American community.
In 1942, during World War II, Japanese Americans were forced to relocate to internment camps under Executive Order 9066, with Fort Sill being used as an internment camp. Naturally, the decision to use Fort Sill to detain immigrant children would not sit well with the Japanese-American community. To them, the use of this location to once again imprison a marginalized group serves only as a slap in the face, especially to those who once lived in the internment camps.
For Japanese Americans, Fort Sill is a reminder of a very painful history of racism and discrimination. Japanese internment has often been viewed as a dark stain in American history. Executive Order 9066 is remembered as an injustice to Japanese Americans in a period of time where racism against those of Japanese heritage was widespread across the United States. Japanese Americans are rightfully angry about the planned use of Fort Sill, as these plans are far too similar to Fort Sill's previous role as an internment camp. On top of the issue of the number of immigrant children being detained, the decision to hold these children in Fort Sill is certainly insensitive considering the base's history.
It is important to note that this is not a new issue: the Obama administration also detained immigrant children in Fort Sill in 2014.
This is an ongoing problem, one that has hardly been addressed in the past. The plans for Fort Sill have not been getting as much attention as they should, both in 2014 and in the present. Protesters are now looking to raise awareness towards the issue with the hashtag #NeverAgainIsNow.