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Google celebrates immigrant rights activist in Doodle

Google is using its Doodle for Monday 30 January to celebrate the birthday of a civil liberties activist who fought for immigrant rights in the US.

Only visible on its U.S. homepage, Google marks what would have been the 98th birthday of Fred Korematsu, who was born in Oakland, California to Japanese immigrant parents, but was turned away from joining the U.S. National Guard and Coast Guard during World War II due to his ethnicity.

Instead, Korematsu was set to join 115,000 other people of Japanese descent living in the U.S. in being incarcerated according to an executive order signed by President Franklin D Roosevelt. Korematsu refused to voluntarily hand himself and instead went into hiding, but was arrested anyway in 1942 and was sent to Central Utah War Relocation Center at Topaz, Utah until the war ended in 1945.

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The timing of the Doodle doesn’t seem to be a coincidence. On Sunday, Google announced a crisis fund to help immigrant causes in the wake of Donald Trump’s immigration order, which bans citizens of seven Muslim countries from entering the US for 90 days. The order, issued Friday, also bans refugees from entering the country for 120 days and places a permanent ban on refugees from Syria

Google’s chief executive Sundar Pichai has been openly critical of Trump’s executive order. One of the organizations its immigration fund is set to benefit is the American Civil Liberties Union, which back in the 1940s tried to prevent Korematsu from being incarcerated.

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