VIDEO: Survivor of Japanese incarceration during WWII takes us from Crystal City to Dilley

Dr. Satsuki Ina, a psychotherapist and professor emeritus at California State University — Sacramento was born in an incarceration camp in California, before moving with her mother to a camp in Crystal City, Texas. An advocate against family detention, Dr. Ina returned to Texas for a rally on May 2nd rally in Dilley, Texas. In this powerful video by Matthew Gossage, Dr. Ina visits Crystal City for the first time since childhood and talks about why detaining families is wrong.

A statement released by the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) earlier this month condemned the U.S. Government’s practice of detaining asylum-seeking families saying, “During World War II, Japanese Americans were forced from their homes on the West Coast, detained without due process, and confined in remote and desolate areas of America’s interior. JACL is deeply troubled by the chilling similarities between the confinement of women and children in places such as Dilley and Karnes, and the wartime treatment of Japanese Americans at places such as Manzanar, Heart Mountain, and Tule Lake where barbed wire and guard towers encircled hastily constructed barracks that offered little privacy, no comfort, and contributed to the breakdown of family structures.”

Individual voices from the Japanese American community have joined JACL in demanding an end to family detention, including Karen Korematsu and Dale Minami — the daughter and a friend of Fred Korematsu, respectively. “[F. Korematsu] would be horrified if he saw that the Obama administration is locking up Central American mothers and children in detention camps, also in the name of national security... Japanese Americans were never a threat, and their mass exclusion and imprisonment was unnecessary and cruel. The Central American mothers and children, detained under a policy written in a similar atmosphere of hysteria, should not have to wait 40 years for justice. And while they wait, the families suffer sadly familiar consequences,” they said. Consequences like increased rates of suicide and psychological harm — frustratingly familiar to survivors of Japanese incarceration — are being reported from the facilities in Texas and Pennsylvania. 

CORRECTION 7/1/2015: Dr. Ina was born in an incarceration camp in California, and was moved to the camp in Crystal City, TX after she and her mother were separated from her brother and father. Earlier we stated that she was born in the Crystal City camp.