Contact: Bill Yoshino, Interim Executive Director, firstname.lastname@example.org
During an interview on FOX News, Carl Higbie, co-chair and spokesperson for the Great America PAC for Donald Trump, discussed the possibility of creating a registry for immigrants from Muslim countries by saying “…We did it in World War II with Japanese. Call it what you will…maybe wrong, but…”
Higbie’s attempt to cite Japanese American incarceration as a precedent for this type of action is frightening and wrong. It’s a statement intended to lay a marker for a misguided belief that ignores the true lessons of Japanese American incarceration. This lesson was captured in the words of a federal commission that said, “…The broad historical causes which shaped these decisions (to incarcerate Japanese Americans) were race prejudice, war hysteria, and a failure of political leadership.”
JACL believes that some of these same conditions exist today, where Muslim Americans are being singled out and unfairly targeted, and where the voices of leadership that should be speaking out against unfair treatment are not.
We must not misinterpret our history by believing the Japanese American incarceration was justified as a precedent for similar actions today, and further, we must not use the wrongdoing perpetrated against Japanese Americans during World War II as a justification for the mistreatment of Muslim Americans.