Actor George Takei weighed in on the Trump’s administration “zero-tolerance” policy on Tuesday in an op-ed detailing his experience at a Japanese-American internment camp during World War II when he was a five-year-old.
The “Star Trek” actor wrote in Foreign Policy that the “zero-tolerance” policy that has led to the separation of more than 2,000 immigrant children from their families is “in one core, horrifying way” worse than when he and his family were at an internment camp.
“At least during the internment of Japanese-Americans, I and other children were not stripped from our parents,” Takei wrote. “We were not pulled screaming from our mothers’ arms. We were not left to change the diapers of younger children by ourselves.”
Takei described the moment when he felt there was “nowhere to turn” because “the only people with the power to help have trained their guns and dogs upon you.” Despite feeling “powerless,” Takei wrote that at least he had his parents to stood between him and the horror he was facing.
“I cannot for a moment imagine what my childhood would have been like had I been thrown into a camp without my parents,” Takei wrote. “That this is happening today fills me with both rage and grief: rage toward a failed political leadership who appear to have lost even their most basic humanity, and a profound grief for the families affected.”
Takei also acknowledged an op-ed written by former first lady Laura Bush on Monday in which she drew a comparison to the current policy and the Japanese-American internment camps.
“She reminded us that there are dark consequences to such camps for their residents: ‘This treatment inflicts trauma; interned Japanese have been two times as likely to suffer cardiovascular disease or die prematurely than those who were not interned,’” Takei wrote.
Takei has a history of being an open critic of President Donald Trump and is one of many celebrity figures that has raised their voice and taken a stance against the policy. The actor is calling on others to take action to avoid a repeat of history.
“[...] unless we act now, we will have failed to learn at all from our past mistakes,” Takei wrote. “Once again, we are flinging ourselves into a world of camps and fences and racist imagery — and lies just big enough to stick.”