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Opinion

Readers React: Why build new ‘tent cities’ when we can just reactivate World War II internment camps?

INDEPENDENT, CA - NOVEMBER 20, 2016: Block 14 building 1 at the Manzanar War Relocation Center at M
A portion of the Manzanar War Relocation Center in California’s Owens Valley.
(Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: It will not be necessary to build new “tent cities” on military bases to house up to 47,000 immigrants. We already have much of what we need.

The facilities already exist, at least in large part, although the infrastructure needs to be updated. The closest one to Los Angeles is the World War II internment camp at Manzanar in the Owens Valley, a place I visited recently.

The original layout is still in place, with interior roads, concrete pads for housing, pads and plumbing for shower and toilet facilities largely intact. Kitchen areas are defined. School areas are marked off. Access is easy, as the camp is just off Highway 395.

A number of these facilities are scattered throughout the United States, and many are in similar shape to Manzanar. Reactivating these camps would save tax dollars.

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Plus, we all know how well internment worked during World War II.

James Hill, Upland

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To the editor: In 1972, the state of California dedicated Manzanar, the Japanese American World War ll internment camp, as a historical site and placed a bronze plaque that includes the following oath: “May the injustices and humiliation suffered here as a result of hysteria of racism and economic exploitation never emerge again.”

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Unfortunately, this history is, shamefully, repeating itself.

Michael Hoevel, Oxnard

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To the editor: What is the true cost of cruelty? Do we calculate the dollars, the millions that will go into converting military bases to house migrants? The billions paid to the prison-industrial complex?

Shall we count the incalculable, the emotional cost to the children separated from their parents? Shall we count the spiritual cost to ourselves, who believed the United States to be a compassionate and moral nation?

We will surely bankrupt ourselves financially and morally if we do not protest.

Victoria Mudd, Sherman Oaks

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