Japanese internment camps serve as the “precedent” for a national Muslim registry, according to a prominent Donald Trump supporter on Megyn Kelly’s Fox News show. The U.S. rounded up 120,000 Japanese Americans during World War II and forced them into camps. Could this happen here with Muslims?
The Supreme Court upheld the internment camps in 1944, and this is widely considered one of the court’s darkest moments. A Trump surrogate defended the camps during Kelly’s interview, as he answered questions about creating a database of Muslim immigrants.
Former SEAL and spokesman for the pro-Trump Great America PAC, Carl Higbie, argued they are legal and “hold constitutional muster”:
‘We’ve done it with Iran back awhile ago. We did it during World War II with the Japanese.’
Kelly couldn’t believe Higbie was serious:
‘Come on, you’re not proposing we go back to the days of internment camps, I hope.’
‘I’m not proposing that at all. But I’m just saying there is precedent for it.’
Kansas secretary of state and member of the Trump transition team, Kris Kobach, said that Trump policy advisers were considering a national registry of immigrants and visitors from Muslim countries. Kobach is a strong anti-immigrant proponent, who designed Arizona’s broadest and strictest immigration law. Now he is on the short list for attorney general.
Under Arizona’s law, police can determine the immigration status of someone they arrest or detain if there is “reasonable suspicion” they are not in the U.S. legally.
Kobach told Reuters the team he worked on had a similar program after 9/11 terrorist attacks, when he was in President George W. Bush’s Justice Department.
The National Security Entry-Exit Registration System (NSEERS) fingerprinted people from countries they considered “higher risk.” In some instances, people had to check in with authorities much like criminals on parole. Civil rights groups criticized the program so rigorously that Obama’s administration suspended it in 2011.
Higbie said that noncitizens do not have the same constitutional rights as American citizens. He said that most Muslims were “perfectly good people,” but there are those who follow an “extreme ideology:”
‘And they’re doing harm. So we would like to keep tabs on it until we can figure out what’s going on.’
Kelly became indignant in her interview with Higbie:
‘You can’t be citing Japanese internment camps as precedent for anything the president-elect is going to do.’
Higbie defended the idea:
‘Look, the president needs to protect America first, and if that means having people that are not protected under our constitution have some sort of registry so we can understand — until we can identify the true threat and where it’s coming from, I support it.’
Kelly argued that the Constitution did protect Muslims:
‘You get the protections once you come here.’
President Ronald Reagan said the Japanese internment camps were part of American History and:
‘A great injustice.’
Check out this video of Kris Kobach talking about a Muslim registry:
Trump surrogates are already citing Japanese internment camps from WW II as "precedent" for Muslim registry pic.twitter.com/DVnjtom0mc
— Brendan Karet ? (@bad_takes) November 17, 2016