According to the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL), Jason Chaffetz, Republican nominee for U.S. Representative from the 3rd Congressional District of Utah, proposed the construction of “prison camps” surrounded by barbed wire to confine undocumented immigrants. The JACL are against this.
While the JACL do not condone violations of law, they said, “We do understand the plight of undocumented immigrants who come to our country to avoid economic and political hardships. This policy, in its enforcement, must be humane where individuals are treated properly.”
Reportedly Chaffetz has taken issue with criticism of his proposal by stating that his plan has nothing to do with targeting ethnicity notwithstanding studies suggesting the great preponderance of undocumented immigrants are identifiable minorities. Thus, the JACL would renew the concern that the government avoid the specter of camps similar to the Topaz concentration camp near the town of Delta, Utah, where approximately 8,000 Japanese Americans were imprisoned during World War II.
Floyd Mori, national executive director of the JACL, who was born of immigrant parents, raised and educated in Utah, stated, “Mr. Chaffetz has fumbled the ball on the important issue of immigration and turned it into an engine of fear towards immigrants. The spirit of immigrants was the key to the growth and development of the state of Utah and the nation. Mormon and Asian immigrant pioneers tilled the soil and laid the infrastructure for this great state. The notion that modern day immigrants are less important raises the specter of exclusionism and economic and historical ignorance.” ♦
For more information about JACL, visit www.jacl.org.