CAPAC Condemns Trump Surrogate’s Comments on Japanese American Internment as Precedent for Muslim Registry

Nov 17, 2016 Issues: Civil Rights

Washington, DC – Today, leaders of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC) released the following statements condemning comments by supporters of President-elect Trump who cite Japanese American internment camps as a “precedent” for the creation of a Muslim registry:

Congresswoman Judy Chu (CA-27), CAPAC Chair:

“Any proposal to force American Muslims to register with the federal government, and to use Japanese imprisonment during World War II as precedent, is abhorrent and has no place in our society. These ideas are based on tactics of fear, division, and hate that we must condemn. The incarceration of innocent Japanese Americans due to wartime hysteria and racism was a dark chapter in our nation’s history which led to civil rights violations so unconscionable that Congress later apologized for it. Like Japanese incarceration, imposing a registry upon American Muslims goes against our constitutional values and our very principles as a nation. We will remain vigilant and push back against the creation of any such registry, and implore the President-elect to recognize the basic civil and constitutional rights of all Americans.”

Congresswoman Madeleine Bordallo (GU), CAPAC Vice Chair:

“The suggestion of a Muslim registry, and likening such a registry to the internment of thousands of Japanese Americans during World War II is dangerous and recalls one of our nation’s darkest spots in recent history. Recognizing the wrongdoing, we officially apologized to the Japanese Americans who were interned, when President Ronald Reagan signed into law the Civil Liberties Act of 1988, saying that it reaffirmed ‘our commitment as a Nation to equal justice under the law.’ We should not let misguided fear undermine our constitutional protections for religious freedom and lead us back down this dark path. Let us remain vigilant to not repeat the grievous mistakes of our nation’s past.”

Congressman Mike Honda (CA-17), CAPAC Chair Emeritus:

“These remarks are beyond disturbing. This is fear, not courage. This is hate, not policy. President Reagan, himself, called our internment a ‘failure of political leadership.’ This does not make American great but would take us back to the bigotry of the 1940s. The Trump administration is showing they have not learned from our history when they suggest we go back to one of its darkest chapters. No one should go through what my family and 120,000 innocent people suffered regardless of their race or religion or any other way they would choose to try and divide us. I fought such divisive practices after 9/11 to ensure Muslims would not be unfairly targeted just as we were. Now today, I tell Mr. Trump that to reenact a policy fueled by prejudice is uncivilized, un-American and unworthy of a president sworn to uphold our Constitution.”

Congressman Mark Takano (CA-41), CAPAC Whip:

“The imprisonment of thousands of Japanese-Americans during World War II, including my parents and grandparents, is widely understood to be one of the darkest chapters in American history. I am horrified that people connected to the incoming Administration are using my family’s experience as a precedent for what President-elect Trump could do. These comments confirm many Americans’ worst fears about the Trump Administration, and they reflect an alarming resurgence of racism and xenophobia in our political discourse. I call on the President-elect to immediately disavow these comments and begin the work of healing our nation’s divides.”


The Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC) is comprised of Members of Congress of Asian and Pacific Islander descent and Members who have a strong dedication to promoting the well-being of the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community. Currently chaired by Congresswoman Judy Chu, CAPAC has been addressing the needs of the AAPI community in all areas of American life since it was founded in 1994.