A U.S. congressman whose parents were detained in a Japanese internment camp during World War II has come out against Sen. Ted Cruz’s suggestion to “patrol” American-Muslims neighborhoods “before they become radicalized.”
Rep. Mark Takano (D-Calif.), the grandson of Japanese immigrants, took to the House floor on Wednesday to speak out against Cruz’s proposal to “empower law enforcement to patrol and secure Muslim neighborhoods.” Cruz also said the U.S. should turn away all refugees from regions with an Islamic State or Al Qaeda presence and repeated his call to “secure the southern border.”
“It violates the moral code that separates us from our enemies.”
“Today, as I watch leading politicians propose discriminatory policies targeting the Muslim community, I cannot be silent,” Takano said on the House floor this week. “Seventy years ago, my parents and grandparents were held prisoner during World War II without trial and without a reason other than their Japanese heritage. In that moment, no one was willing to speak up for them.”
“We cannot ignore the lessons of history,” he said.
Following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, ordering the evacuation and mass incarceration of up to 120,000 American citizens of Japanese ancestry. Thousands of German and Italian residents were also arrested by the so called War Relocation Authority. The event is widely regarded today as one of the most grievous violations of human rights carried out by the U.S. government during a war-time hysteria.
Some 3,200 resident aliens of Italian background were arrested and more than 300 of them were interned. About 11,000 German residents—including some naturalized citizens—were arrested and more than 5,000 were interned.
Takeno fiercely rejected suggestions by politicians regarding the use of torture against America’s enemies—Donald Trump has endorsed torture multiple times on the campaign trail—as both counterproductive, and morally repugnant. “It violates the moral code that separates us from our enemies,” he said.
“The Muslim community,” Takano added, “is the most frequent victim of terrorism and our greatest ally in ridding the world of extremism.”
Photo via Fred Miller (CC BY-ND 2.0)