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Having written about the treatment of foreign nationals under Japan’s legal system, it only seems fair to see how Japanese have fared in my country of birth. Here are the stories of Japanese people whom fate and, more often than not, citizenship brought before America’s highest court. Depressingly, many are steeped in xenophobic exclusionism that seems depressingly familiar from current events.

In 1891 Congress passed an Immigration Act creating an immigration bureaucracy and expanding the categories of excludable aliens to include persons likely to become “public charges.” Ekiu Nishimura was a Japanese woman who arrived in San Francisco the same year. Alone, she had $22 and a passport indicating she was traveling with her husband. She said he was already in America and was supposed to meet her.

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