The Hillary Clinton-supporting mayor of Roanoke, Va. is asking government and non-government agencies in his region to “suspend and delay” assistance to Syrian refugees, a move he’s defending by citing Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Japanese internment camps.
In a statement released on Wednesday, David Bowers, a Democrat, said that in light of ISIS’ recent attacks in Paris, it would be “imprudent” to allow Syrian refugees into the U.S. The Obama administration seeks to allow 10,000 Syrian refugees to settle in the U.S. to escape civil war in their homeland.
“At least for awhile into the future, it seems to me to be better safe than sorry,” said Bowers, who is listed on Clinton’s campaign website as one of the mayors who has endorsed her.
“I’m reminded that President Franklin D. Roosevelt felt compelled to sequester Japanese foreign nationals after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, and it appears that the threat of harm to America from Isis now is just as real and serious as that from our enemies then,”
Shortly after the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, Roosevelt enacted an executive order forcing residents of Japanese ethnicity into internment camps across the U.S. As many as 120,000 Japanese were sequestered in the camps until after the war ended.
Bowers comments come as President Obama and other Democrats attack Republicans for speaking out against allowing the Syrian resettlement, which is slated to begin next year.
Obama has taken special aim at comments from Republican presidential candidates Jeb Bush and Chris Christie. Bush asserted that the U.S. should prioritize Christian Syrians for refugee status. Christie said he opposed allowing any refugees, except those who are very young.
“When candidates say, we wouldn’t admit three-year-old orphans — that’s political posturing. When individuals say that we should have a religious test and that only Christians — proven Christians — should be admitted — that’s offensive and contrary to American values,” Obama said on Tuesday. (RELATED: Obama Accuses Republicans Of Being ‘Worried About Three-Year-Old Orphans)
“First, they were worried about the press being too tough on them during debates,” Obama continued. “Now they’re worried about three-year-old orphans. That doesn’t sound very tough to me.”
In opposing the refugee resettlement, Bowers parts company with Virginia’s Democratic governor, Terry McAuliffe, a close Clinton crony. McAuliffe is one of 23 governors who have said that they support the Syrian refugee plan. As of Wednesday, 27 governors — 26 Republicans and one Democrat — have come out against the measure.