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Japanese-American lawmaker rips Paul internment comments

Rep. Mark Takano (D-Calif.) is calling out Sen. Rand Paul’s (R-Ky.) comments about Japanese internment camps as “insulting,” citing the experience of his own parents in the camps.

{mosads}Paul, in a speech arguing against President Obama’s immigration executive actions on Friday in Kentucky, cited President Franklin Roosevelt’s order to create the camps during World War II as an example of presidential overreach.  

“I care that too much power gets in one place,” Paul said. “Why? Because there have been instances in our history where we allow power to gravitate to one person and that one person then makes decisions that really are egregious.

“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,’ ” he continued. 

Takano, who is Japanese-American, pushed back in a Facebook post on Sunday night. 

“Senator Paul’s comments likening President Obama’s executive action that provides immigration relief to millions of people in this nation to the internment of Japanese Americans is insulting – not only to the millions who will benefit from President Obama’s executive action, but to the thousands of Japanese who were interned during World War II, including my own mother and father,” Takano wrote. 

He added that Obama’s order, shielding 5 million people in the country illegally from deportation, has the opposite effect of the internment executive order. 

“President Obama’s executive action prioritizes the protection of vulnerable, hardworking immigrants,” Takano wrote. “Executive Order 9066 did the opposite and was not just a failure of the executive, but a failure of each branch of government, as Congress allowed the internment of thousands to take place, and the Supreme Court failed to uphold the constitutional rights of those interned.”

Takano ends with a shot at the perceived ideological basis of the remarks from Paul, who is a likely 2016 presidential candidate. 

“While I’m sure that Senator Paul’s purpose of making these comments was to feed the libertarian fantasy of rampant government overreach in everything President Obama does, the fact remains that there is absolutely no comparison to his executive action, which allows millions of hardworking immigrants to no longer live in fear, and the systematic stripping of basic human rights of Japanese Americans by every branch of government,” Takano wrote.

Paul’s senior adviser, Doug Stafford, told The Hill on Friday that Paul was not comparing the substance of the two actions. 

“Senator Paul was not comparing the substance, he was discussing unchecked executive power,” Stafford wrote in an email. “If you allow a President to take broad, unconstitutional power, you may not like what some of them do with it. It is important for many reasons to follow the rule of law, and to live within the constitutional checks and balances in our system of government.”

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