U.S. May Open Immigrant Detainment Facility Near Former WW2 Japanese Concentration Camp

The Department of Health & Human Services recently visited two government-owned sites in Arkansas that are believed to be near a concentration camp in Rohwer that was once used during World War II where many Japanese-Americans were imprisoned.

The purpose of this visit is to determine if whether these sites can be used as an immigrant detention facility, which came just a few hours after United States President Donald Trump backtracked his “zero-tolerance” policy and allow families who were caught crossing the U.S. Mexico border to be together.

Federal agents are at a fish experiment station in Kelso, AR to look at setting up a potential immigrant detainment center. How is a tent city on a flood plain in SE Arkansas more appropriate than a tent city on the border?” U.S. Rep. Rick Crawford, who has been the representative for Arkansas’ 1 st congressional district since 2011, said in his Twitter post.

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One of the facilities that the feds visited in Arkansas on Thursday was the former United States Department of Agriculture facility in the Delta town of Kelso, which is located two miles north of the incarceration camp.

This incarceration camp, known as Rohwer Relocation Center, was one of the two sites that the U.S. government set up during World War II to house Japanese-Americans.

I don’t believe this proposal is a good one. Someone should have looked a little closer at the historical context of this site,” Crawford told Talk Business & Politics Arkansas. “It’s literally within sight of another internment camp dating back to 1942 involving Japanese Americans. That proposal wasn’t a good idea, either.”

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HHS spokeswoman, Carla Daniels, explains on the statement the reason why the feds paid a visit to the sites. She wrote (via KUAR Public Radio):

“The USDA property will be assessed to determine the site’s suitable for HHS to temporarily provide shelter for unaccompanied alien children (UAC) at some point in the future. The DoD property will be visited to determine if a more detailed assessment is warranted. USDA and DoD officials will join the HHS staff as they tour the vacant properties. HHS will make the determination if it will use either of the two sites for UAC operations. HHS will continue to keep local and congressional officials informed during this assessment and selection process. I’d also like to clarify that our notification was for UAC shelter not family detention. ORR/HHS is legally mandated with the care of unaccompanied alien children and operates shelters.”

Hollywood actor and known activist, George Takei, took to social media to express his disbelief about the decision to open up detainment center near the former concentration camp for Japanese-Americans.

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The 81-year-old actor and strong supporter of the LGBT community spent his childhood in one of the concentration camps in Arkansas, specifically the Rohwer Relocation Camp, AsAM News reported.

Feature Image via Wikimedia Commons / Brandonrush (CC BY-SA 3.0)

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