California politicians condemn Trump supporter's remarks about internment and a 'Muslim registry'

November 18, 2016
In The News

Several members of California’s congressional delegation denounced a prominent supporter of President-elect Donald Trump for his remark that the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II provided “precedent” for creating a national registration list for immigrants from predominately Muslim countries.

Carl Higbie, author of “Enemies, Foreign and Domestic: A SEAL’s Story,” defended the idea of creating a registry for such immigrants during a Fox News interview by Megyn Kelly on Wednesday night.

Rep. Mike Honda (D-San Jose), who as a child was forced into an internment camp with his family during World War II, called the remarks “beyond disturbing.”

“This is fear, not courage. This is hate, not policy. President Reagan, himself, called our internment a ‘failure of political leadership.’ This does not make America great but would take us back to the bigotry of the 1940s,” Honda said in a statement released by the Congressional Asian
Pacific American Caucus

Rep. Mark Takano (D-Riverside) said the comment confirms many Americans’ worst fears about the incoming Trump administration.

“The imprisonment of thousands of Japanese-Americans during World War II, including my parents and grandparents, is widely understood to be one of the darkest chapters in American history,” said Takano in a statement sent to reporters. “I am horrified that people connected to the incoming Administration are using my family’s experience as a precedent for what President-elect Trump could do.”

Rep. Doris Matsui (D-Sacramento) said the United States must remain a safe haven for people of all religions, adding that “we cannot go backwards.”

Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Torrance) called on Trump to immediately condemn Higbie’s remarks and also “repudiate the idea of a ‘Muslim registry.’ ”

During World War II, more than 120,000 Japanese Americans from West Coast states were ordered to evacuate their homes and abandon their businesses and were placed in internment camps in remote areas across the West.

Supreme Court decisions in 1943 upheld the constitutionality of the military detention process. In 1988, President Reagan signed legislation that issued a formal government apology and provided reparations for those who had been interned.

“The incarceration of innocent Japanese Americans due to wartime hysteria and racism was a dark chapter in our nation’s history which led to civil rights violations so unconscionable that Congress later apologized for it,” Rep. Judy Chu (D-Monterey Park) said in a statement. “Like Japanese incarceration, imposing a registry upon American Muslims goes against our constitutional values and our very principles as a nation.”