Rep. Honda responds to Rand Paul’s comments on WWII camps

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WASHINGTON — Rep. Mike Honda issued a statement about comments Sen. Rand Paul made, referring to the wartime incarceration of Japanese Americans in American concentration camps during World War II, when discussing President Barack Obama’s immigration executive action.

Paul, a Republican from Kentucky, made the following comments Nov. 21 at the Kentucky Association of Counties conference in Lexington, Ken., a day after Obama announced the executive actions: “I care that too much power gets in one place. Why? Because there are instances in our history where we allow power to gravitate toward one person and that one person then makes decisions that really are egregious,” Paul said. “Think of what happened in World War II where they made the decision. The president issued an executive order. He said to Japanese people ‘we’re going to put you in a camp. We’re going to take away all your rights and liberties and we’re going to intern you in a camp.’”

President Franklin Roosevelt’s Executive Order 9066 led to the mass incarceration of some 120,000 persons of Japanese descent in American concentration camps during World War II.

Honda, of San Jose, issued a statement Nov. 24 saying that the comparison of the two executive orders “could not be more misguided. At best, he is confused. At worst, he is just wrong.”

Whereas “Roosevelt’s action was based on racism, fear, hysteria, war, and the lack of real political leadership,” Obama’s executive order reflects his efforts to “include, not exclude, people. He is working to keep intact immigrant families who play by the rules, not exclude undocumented parents and other DACA eligible individuals,” Honda said.

According to a White House statement, the President’s Immigration Accountability Executive Actions “will help secure the border, hold nearly 5 million undocumented immigrants accountable, and ensure that everyone plays by the same rules.” The executive actions “crack down on illegal immigration at the border, prioritize deporting felons not families, and require certain undocumented immigrants to pass a criminal background check and pay their fair share of taxes as they register to temporarily stay in the U.S. without fear of deportation,” the White House fact sheet said.

Honda and his family members were among those imprisoned in American concentration camps during World War II.

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