George Takei wrote in an op-ed that Donald Trump’s current immigration policies — including separating families at the border — are worse than Japanese internment camps during World War II.
In a piece for Foreign Policy, Takei assessed the current state of immigration in the United States. He used his personal experience as a Japanese-American during World War II to write the article.
Following Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941, the US sent Japanese immigrants to internment camps.
Takei was only 5 when he and his family were sent to a camp in Arkansas. Reflecting on this time in his life, Takei writes: ‘And yet, with hideous irony, I can still say, “At least during the internment …”‘
Keeping families together
While writing about the Trump administration’s policies, Takei compares his own experience and impossibly finds a heartbreaking difference.
‘My family was sent to a racetrack for several weeks to live in a horse stall, but at least we had each other,’ he explains.
‘At least during the internment, my parents were able to place themselves between the horror of what we were facing and my own childish understanding of our circumstances. They told us we were “going on a vacation to live with the horsies.”‘
Takei questions how political leaders can justify such actions, both then and now.
‘After Japan dropped its bombs, the political scapegoats were obvious,’ he writes. ‘No matter that most of us weren’t even Japanese nationals; nearly two-thirds of those imprisoned were U.S. citizens, after all … none of us had actually done anything wrong.’
He argues that a lie, even a big one, if said enough and with conviction, the country accepts it.
‘That this is happening today fills me with both rage and grief: rage toward a failed political leadership who appear to have lost even their most basic humanity, and a profound grief for the families affected.’
Today, Donald Trump announced he’d be signing an executive order ending the policy.