NCAPA Denounces Trump Surrogate’s Comments Citing Japanese American Internment as “Precedent” For Muslim Registry



Nov. 17, 2016

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NCAPA Denounces Trump Surrogate’s Comments Citing Japanese American Internment as “Precedent” For Muslim Registry

The National Council of Asian Pacific Americans strongly condemns comments from Trump surrogate Carl Higbie for claiming that Japanese internment camps are a "precedent" for Muslim registry.

NCAPA National Director Christopher Kang:

“The only reference that should ever be made to the incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II is that it is a shameful chapter in American history and should never be repeated. Even more offensive than Higbie’s ignorance of history’s lessons is the underlying policy it was meant to defend. Muslim Americans and those perceived to be Muslim already have experienced a shocking rise in incidents of hate and violence since the election. This is not what America stands for. We stand for equality and justice.

NCAPA demands that President-Elect Trump reject any proposal that seeks to profile, target or register Muslim Americans--or anyone in our nation. These policies would make us less safe, not more. We also are gravely concerned that this proposal is reflective of whom the President-Elect has chosen to advise him, such as Steve Bannon as chief strategist and senior counselor. Hate, bigotry, and division should not be acceptable strategy and deserve no place in the White House.”

The Japanese American Citizens League, an NCAPA member, issued the following statement:

“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 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 as a justification for the mistreatment of a Muslim Americans.”

During World War II, 120,000 Japanese Americans were incarcerated, even though none was ever charged with a crime or found guilty of a subversive act. The United States formally apologized, when President Ronald Reagan signed the Civil Liberties Act of 1988, and discouraged the occurrence of similar injustices and violations of civil liberties in the future.

NCAPA member organization South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT) continues to track incidents of hate on their website and also encourages the public to use the hashtag #TrackHate on social media to report incidents.

Based in Washington, D.C., the National Council of Asian Pacific Americans is a coalition of 35 national Asian Pacific American organizations that serves to represent the interests of Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) communities and to provide a national voice for our communities’ concerns. Our communities are the fastest growing racial/ethnic group in the United States, currently making up approximately six percent of the population.


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