President Donald Trump’s administration has been grappling with finding holding space for the thousands of undocumented children that Customs and Border Protection is keeping in custody.
As a result, the administration is turning to a new facility: an army base in Oklahoma called Fort Sill. The history of the base, however, has a disturbing history that many see as all too similar to what’s happening with undocumented migrants today.
Fort Sill was used as a Japanese-American internment camp during World War II.
The administration will be used as a “temporary emergency influx shelter” as the government figures out a permanent arrangement for the record number of undocumented minors in its care.
Executive Order 9066 was signed into law by President Harry S. Truman in 1942 in response to the escalating war between Japan and the United States. As a result, around 120,000 Japanese-Americans were removed from their homes and relocated to internment facilities like Fort Sill.
Indigenous Apache warriors were also imprisoned at Fort Sill. Geronimo, a prominent leader and doctor of the tribe, is buried there.
People are noting the eerie similarities between the purposes of Fort Sill in the past and, now, the present.
The past is never dead. It's not even past.
— Brian Hamm (@brianrdhamm) June 12, 2019
Well this certainly is on brand.
— Marcus Wesson (@mahhcus) June 12, 2019
Hey, remember a billion years ago when the Supreme Court upheld the travel ban and sotomayor wrote the dissenting minority opinion comparing it to the Japanese internment, but the other judges scoffed at the idea? Then they overruled the decision that made the internment legal?
— 21st Century Thought Criminal (@WalterFBiela) June 12, 2019
This is not the same America that was established, built, and made prosperous by immigrants. This is the hateful, fear-filled and monstrous America, following a path we have seen before and overcame.
— Becky Brashears (@TangoBeckyB) June 12, 2019
One of the more Trump Administration “on-brand” stories of 2019.
— How’s it going Beelzebub? (@SatansLollipop) June 12, 2019
A symbolic choice…
— Alice Driver (@alice__driver) June 12, 2019
Reminds me on a song of Propellerheads… pic.twitter.com/ihSDZ9uwFY
— Daniel Heithorn (@DanielHeithorn) June 12, 2019
Sadly, this isn’t the first time that Fort Sill has been used for this purpose. The Obama administration used the facility to house undocumented migrants for four months in 2014, ending after Obama’s Health and Human Services Department expanded the availability of suitable shelters.
There has yet to be a timeline for when the children will be moved from Fort Sill.