(Scott Rains/The Lawton Constitution via Associated Press)
With the Trump administration planning to move 1,400 migrant children to this fortified Army post later this summer, a small group of Japanese American World War II internment camp survivors came to the gates Saturday to make their opposition known.
"We are here today to protest the repetition of history," proclaimed camp survivor Satsuki Ina, 75, of San Francisco, one of about two dozen former internees and their descendants in attendance.
Met by uniformed military police, the protesters, some in their 80s, were told they did not have permission to congregate and might face arrest. "You need to move right now!" one of the officers shouted. "What don't you understand? It's English: Get out."
But the survivors, carrying thousands of origami cranes as a symbol of solidarity, refused to leave until police from adjacent Lawton, Okla., arrived and let them speak. They then moved to a park where a crowd of about 200 was waiting.
The Trump administration is considering sheltering unaccompanied immigrant children apprehended along the southwest border at Fort Benning, the sprawling Columbus-area military installation, according to the Pentagon and U.S. Health and Human Services Department.
It is unknown how many children could be housed there and for how long. But Acting Defense Secretary Pat Shanahan approved a request from the Department of Health and Human Services in April for the Pentagon to find space for up to 5,000 at military bases.
The U.S. Defense Department has been asked to provide shelter for as many as 12,000 undocumented immigrants and their children as part of an effort to keep families together, the Pentagon said late Wednesday.
San Diego County could become a destination for tens of thousands of unauthorized immigrants to be housed indefinitely by the U.S. Government, under the zero-tolerance policy implemented by President Donald Trump.