Immigrant detention centers are a grim reminder of Japanese American history

April 5, 2019
Public Radio International

It’s hard to not compare the South Texas Family Residential Center and the Crystal City camp.

Bob Libal, director of Grassroots Leadership, an anti-incarceration advocacy organization that provided ground support for the protest at Dilley, says that the “visuals are eerily familiar.”

“[They’re] on the same highway, they’re both places where families live, the language is exactly the same,” Libal says. “Dilley was built on the site of an oil worker man camp, Crystal City on site of agricultural workers camp.”

Japanese Americans have been spurred into action because of these similarities.

After the protest, some of the group spent the rest of the week doing more: They handed out backpacks to women and children released from the Dilley detention facility. Others met with undocumented organizers and left a string of cranes across the Laredo bridge leading into Mexico. Some traveled to Austin to meet Texas state legislators and speak in opposition to SB-4, an anti-immigrant bill that critics say condones racial profiling.