I remember a conversation I had with a friend about the internment camps for Japanese people during World War II. My friend is Japanese-American. Her family has lived in the US for generations. Her grandmother was living in California when the Japanese army bombed Pearl Harbor. Her grandmother’s family was taken to a camp somewhere in the desert. They left their house, which her great-grandfather had worked so hard to buy. They left their clothes, their possessions, their business. When the war ended and they returned home, everything was gone. Before the internment, her grandmother’s family had a decent living. Now everything was taken from them. Even now, decades later, her grandmother still harbors some bitterness toward the U.S. government for what it did.
Could something like this happen again? I hope not. But as a Korean American, I wonder. What if North Korea declares war on the U.S.? Would I and other Korean Americans face terrible consequences? Would my family be forced to give up our home, our possessions, our community?
Some would say that such a situation would never happen, since South Korea is such a strong ally of the U.S. I certainly hope that is true.
Speaking of allies, the U.S. has strong connections with countries in South and Southeast Asia, such as Indonesia, India, and Bangladesh. These countries are important economic and diplomatic partners with the U.S. They are also the countries with the largest Muslim populations in the world. I wonder what would happen if the U.S. were to block Muslims from coming here. I can’t imagine the Indonesian government would be happy that we banned 204 million of its citizens from visiting the U.S.