Japanese-American Group Criticizes Trump’s Travel Order

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SACRAMENTO -- Confused and heartbroken.

Attorney and Co-President of the Florin Japanese American Citizens League Josh Kaizuka said that is how he felt when he found out about President Donald Trump's executive order temporarily barring people from seven predominantly Muslim countries from entering the U.S.

Kaizuka said it is a feeling all too familiar.

"The administration today is trying to divide the different groups based on race, religion, and that's the same kind of thing that happened to Japanese Americans," Kaizuka said.

Ninety-three years ago immigrants from Asian countries, including Japan, were banned from entering the U.S., and 75 years ago, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, the law that sent some 120,000 Japanese and Japanese-Americans into internment camps.

"You don't have the right to tell me I can’t go outside. Or put me in some sort of incarceration," Kaizuka said.

The signing of Trump's executive order comes at a crucial time in history.

Monday, California observed "Fred Korematsu Day." The Japanese-American Civil Rights activist refused to go to internment camps because he believed incarcerating people for their ethnicity was unconstitutional. Monday would have been his 96th birthday. Google honored Korematsu by changing their "Google Doodle" homepage to show a cartoon of the activist.

Kaizuka fears there are too many parallels between what happened to the Japanese-Americans last century and what is happening now to Muslim-Americans.

He says an immigration ban would result in segregated neighborhoods. And a Muslim registry - as Mr. Trump has hinted at during the campaign - could result in kids identified with tags over their necks.

Both were realities for Japanese Americans in the 1900s.

On Monday, the Council of American Islamic Relations announced a lawsuit, challenging Trump's executive order, calling it unconstitutional.

"Due Process and equal protection is what makes America great. And not what Donald Trump is doing," CAIR National Executive Director, Nihad Awad, said.

"They've already been vetted. And they're being denied access to the U.S. That's just not right," Kaizuka said.

The JACL said they stand united with CAIR, saying what President Trump is doing is simply unconstitutional. And that it goes against everything that the United States of America stands for.

"People of good conscience have to unite and stand up for democracy, the Constitution, and make sure these lessons are remembered, and the mistakes of the past do not keep repeating itself.

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