His Japanese-American parents were held in camps; now historian sees ‘same patterns’ emerging

Historians in the News
tags: election 2016, WWII, Trump, Internment Camps

On March 30, 1942, a few months after the attack on Pearl Harbor, more than 270 Japanese Americans on Bainbridge Island were made to leave their homes, allowed to bring only what they could carry in their hands. They were the first people in the country to begin the forced journey to internment camps. 

Nearly 13,000 Washingtonians of Japanese ancestry, including almost 7,000 in Seattle, would be removed from their homes, most sent to a temporary “assembly center” in Puyallup, and then to an internment camp in Idaho for the duration of World War II.

Only about 60 percent of those forced to leave Seattle ever returned, the rest settling elsewhere after the war.

The election of Donald Trump has renewed fears that what’s seen as one of the gravest mistakes in American history — the forced wartime internment of an ethnic minority — could repeat itself.

Several days ago, a Kansas official who says he’s advising Trump’s transition team said team members are discussing ideas to reinstate a registry for immigrants from Muslim countries, and the former spokesman for a pro-Trump super PAC cited Japanese-American internment camps as “precedent” for a registry. ...

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