Mayor Justifies Turning Away Syrian Refugees By Citing Japanese American Incarceration

Mayor David Bowers of Roanoke, VA. (Photo credit: Ryan Stone / Washington Post)
Mayor David Bowers of Roanoke, VA. (Photo credit: Ryan Stone / Washington Post)

(H/T: Snoopy)

Roanoke mayor David A. Bowers, a Democrat who is now in his fourth term in office,  joined the growing chorus of (mostly Republican) American politicians vocally trying to turn away Syrian refugees; but Bowers has taken a unique angle on his reasons why.

In an entirely unsolicited press statement, Bowers’ office  announced it would be asking Roanoke Valley government and non-government officials to halt aid to Syrian refugees. He justified the stance by suggesting that President Franklin D. Roosevelt was right to treat Japanese American civilians with similar suspicion during World War II.

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Virginia votes unanimously to recognize Korematsu Day!

2015-korematsu-day
Big news out of the Virginia state legislature today!

In a unanimous vote, the Virginia Senate passed House Joint Resolution 641 to recognize January 30th as Korematsu Day. The day recognizes the historic contribution of Fred T. Korematsu to American history; during World War II, Korematsu — who was an US-born Japanese American citizen — refused to abide by Executive Order 9066 which authorized the incarceration of Japanese Americans in concentration camps (read more about the power of words). Korematsu was arrested and convicted for his refusal.

After the war, Korematsu filed a Supreme Court challenge to the constitutionality of the camps through seeking an appeal to his conviction. Korematsu’s success in overturning his conviction was a significant step in winning reparations for Japanese American survivors of the camps.

Fred T. Korematsu passed away on March 30, 2005. Today, Korematsu’s daughter, Karen, heads the Korematsu Institute, which works to keep Korematsu’s legacy — and the history of Japanese American forcible imprisonment during World War II — alive. One effort of the Institute is to try and have January 30, Fred Korematsu’s birthday, recognized nationally and in all 50 states as Korematsu Day.

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What does Eric Cantor’s primary loss mean for comprehensive immigration reform?

Eric Cantor is not having a good night.
Eric Cantor is not having a good night.

An hour ago, I had to stop the treadmill before I fell off it and broke my neck. See, I found out in the middle of my evening run that Representative Eric Cantor, the Republican House Majority Leader who had successfully held his seat for seven seats, was brutally trounced in his primary race tonight. Cantor lost the GOP primary election, and therefore his seat and his position as House Majority Leader, by 10 points to a politically unknown economics professor named Dave Brat.

Rep. Eric Cantor may be one of the top GOP legislators in DC, but he’s also one of the most conservative, and he hasn’t won many fans among moderates or the Left. So, tonight, a lot of progressive Democrats are gleefully celebrating Cantor’s surprise ouster.

But, before, we pop open that champagne, let’s stop and think about what this unexpected defeat might mean for national politics, and particularly an issue of deep significance tot his blog: comprehensive immigration reform.

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