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JANM Condemns ‘Cruel’ Family Separation Policy

The Japanese American National Museum in Little Tokyo issued the following statement on June 19.

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The Japanese American National Museum cannot be silent in the face of the administration’s cruel and inhumane policy that forcibly separates children from their parents as they seek entry into the United States.

We also cannot remain silent as the administration readies the construction of prison camps to incarcerate these children, especially not on the eve of the 30th anniversary of the Civil Liberties Act of 1988, through which the United States government apologized for and paid reparations to the thousands of individuals of Japanese ancestry — men, women, and children — who were unlawfully incarcerated during World War II.

The building of prison camps where minors would be forcibly detained away from their families is reprehensible and recalls not only the WWII incarceration of people of Japanese ancestry but also the forced separation of Native American children from their parents that started in the late 19th century when they were sent to government- or church-run boarding schools.

“It fails any measure of decency that the government of the United States has taken such a reprehensible stance toward children who have been brought to this great nation in hopes of improving their lives,” said Ann Burroughs, president and CEO of JANM. “This museum exists to ensure that no other group is rounded up and forced to endure what people of Japanese ancestry had to endure during World War II. Here we see it happening again, to the most vulnerable among us. This policy, left unchecked, will be a lasting shame to this country. We cannot stand by silently in the face of what history will surely judge as a crime against humanity.”

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