George Takei has come out with a searing criticism of Donald Trump’s proposed registry for Muslim immigrants. The American actor, as a child, was held in internment camps during World War II, along with his family and other Japanese Americans.
According to the Los Angeles Times, Takei, recalling the moment, discussed how his parents woke him up one day, hurriedly packing what they could. Soldiers marched to their house and ordered them at gunpoint to leave. Takei’s mother, holding his baby sister, left crying. He added, “That terror is seared into my memory.”
Responding to the comments of a Donald Trump supporter citing internment as a precedent for a Muslim immigrant registry, Takei said Friday on MSNBC, “Yes it happened, but it is not a precedent. It is the most disgraceful chapter of American history.” He also argued that it violated due process by imprisoning an entire class of Americans, rather than going to a court of law and proving the crimes of individuals.
Commenting specifically on Trump’s idea of a registry, the Star Trek actor said that registries were a “prelude to internment.” Historically, Nazi Germany compelled Jews to register in occupied countries. These were later used to identify and incarcerate them during the Holocaust.
Donald Trump’s current plan for a registry, according to Kris Kobach, an alleged member of the president-elect’s transition team, is one for Muslim immigrants, not for Muslims in general. However, during his campaign, the candidate had several different statements that were sometimes ambiguous. According to Politifact, Trump consistently stated he was not proposing the idea of internment camps.
However, in a response to a question from TIME about the legitimacy of the camps during WWII, Trump stated that he’d “have had to be there at the time” to give a proper answer. Later, in a March interview with ABC, he ruled out that idea for American Muslims completely.
This controversy, which had died down months ago, was brought back to the forefront of national discourse when Trump supporter Carl Higbie mentioned it in an interview. Talking to Megyn Kelly on FOX News, Higbie argued that internment camps were a precedent for Donald Trump’s potential Muslim immigrant registry. The former Navy SEAL also argued that “people outside this country” were not protected by the Constitution, though Kelly countered that once they came in, the founding document applied to them too.
When Higbie finally mentioned internment, Kelly, clearly shocked, exclaimed, “You can’t just cite Japanese internment camps for anything President-Elect, Donald Trump is going to do.” Higbie clarified he was not in favor of them at all.
By Brett Chandrasekhar
Photo Courtesy Facebook