Manzanar Committee condemns statement by Roanoke, Va., Mayor David Bowers regarding Syrian refugees

Staff Writer

The Manzanar Committee has repudiated statements by Roanoke, Va., Mayor David Bowers in which he used the unjust incarceration of over 110,000 Americans of Japanese ancestry as justification for his demand that Syrian refugees be denied asylum in the Roanoke area.

In an official statement, Bowers said, “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.”

Manzanar Committee Co-Chair Bruce Embrey rejected Bowers’ remarks out of hand.

“Mayor Bowers may be just one of many who are using the despicable terrorist acts in Paris for political gain, but his outrageous statement exposes the dangers of unbridled xenophobia, racism and racial profiling during times of crisis,” he said. “How anyone, much less a public official, can cite the World War II incarceration of the Japanese American community as rationale for any policy in this day and age is simply outrageous.”