By Marissa Perlman

STOCKTON (CBS13) – The state of California is set to issue an apology to Japanese-Americans for internment during World War II.

State lawmakers are expected to vote on the resolution and formal apology this Thursday.

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Alice Tahara will soon turn 97. She’s lived in California her entire life and has run a hotel in Stockton for 50 years.

“I’m very disappointed the way they treated us, they should’ve never locked us up,” Tahara said. “I don’t know what they were thinking about for heaven’s sake! As far as I was concerned, I was American!

Tahara has never stepped foot in Japan. But as a young woman, she was sent to Santa Anita race track in Arcadia to live in a horse stable with her family. It was one of the temporary assembly centers for California detention facilities.

“I wasn’t very happy about it because I wasn’t able to go to college,” said Tahara.

She was one of 120,000 men women and children of Japanese descent who were forced to leave their homes and businesses and were crowded into 10 concentration camps scattered across the west. Two of them were located in California.

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Lawmakers want the California legislature to acknowledge and apologize to survivors like Tahara while they’re still alive.

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“It was a situation where the constitution was completely ignored, now we see the same things happening again,” said Attorney Richard Konda. “It’s kind of hearkening back to what happened in the forties.”

California was considered ground zero for much of the nation’s anti-Japanese prejudice even before World War II. A California law targeted Japanese farmers and the state banned anyone of Japanese descent from buying farmland seven years later. That included Tahara’s family. “We weren’t able to buy any land for a long time,” she said.

This new resolution stops short of a federal government apology, which gave financial compensation to survivors. Tahara received $20,000 in 1988 but says it wasn’t enough.

“As far as I’m concerned, I lost more than that,” she said.

We asked Tahara whether lawmakers issuing a formal apology means something to her, all these years later.

She said, “If they want to apologize I’ll take that. It hurts me, but I’ll take that.”

The bill was inspired by migrant children held in us custody over the last year.

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Thursday marks the 78th anniversary of the “Day of Remembrance.”

Marissa Perlman