CAPAC Members Oppose Detention of Migrant Children at Former Japanese Internment Camp

Jun 13, 2019 Issues: Civil Rights, Immigration

Washington, DC — Earlier this week, the Trump administration announced it will begin holding migrant children at Fort Sill, a military base that was once used to imprison Japanese Americans during World War II. Among those stripped of their civil liberties and forced to live in Japanese internment camps were several Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC) Members – including Congresswoman Doris Matsui (CA-06), former CAPAC Chairs Norman Mineta and Mike Honda, and the late Bob Matsui – all of whom were either infants or children at the time. Members of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC) issued the following statements: 

Congresswoman Judy Chu (CA-27), CAPAC Chair:

“I have been and continue to be strongly opposed to the imprisonment of migrant children seeking asylum in our country. The Administration’s choice to hold these children at a site once used for Japanese internment is blind to the lessons we should have learned from this shameful chapter in our nation’s history. The civil rights of the Japanese American families and children who were imprisoned during World War II were horrendously violated. Decades later, the same can be said for the migrant children being detained in child prison camps across the nation. This is unacceptable, and it’s the reason why I introduced the Shut Down Child Prison Camps Act with Senator Jeff Merkley. We must ensure that we learn from our past mistakes and make every effort possible to put an end to the detention of innocent children.”

Congresswoman Doris Matsui (CA-06), CAPAC Executive Board Member:

“The Trump Administration’s decision to use a military base that once housed Japanese Americans during internment is fundamentally wrong and tone-deaf. The internment of over a hundred thousand Japanese Americans is a stain on our nation’s history. With this recent action, I fear that the Trump Administration is ignoring a painful moment of our past. That’s why I have continually stood up to this Administration’s policy of detaining children. No child’s civil liberties or human rights should ever be discounted on our watch.”

Congressman Mark Takano (CA-41), CAPAC Second Vice Chair:

“Families like mine still bear the scars from the suffering they underwent when they were held in Japanese internment camps during World War II. It is shameful and immoral for our government to be holding immigrant children seeking asylum in those very same facilities that caused so much suffering. Military bases, makeshift camps, and federal prison cells are not appropriate places to house people who are coming to this country seeking asylum, especially children. The inhumanity we are witnessing, and the treatment of immigrants and asylum seekers has become a humanitarian crisis that must be addressed. We must restore humanity into our immigration process and fix our broken immigration system to keep families together and support those seeking refuge in America.”

Congressman Ted Lieu (CA-33), CAPAC Whip:

“It’s appalling that the Trump Administration is still holding migrant children in detention. This Administration’s inhumane decision to continue to detain families and children crossing our southern border is worth highlighting and decrying.”


The Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC) is comprised of Members of Congress of Asian and Pacific Islander descent and Members who have a strong dedication to promoting the well-being of the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community. Currently chaired by Congresswoman Judy Chu, CAPAC has been addressing the needs of the AAPI community in all areas of American life since it was founded in 1994.