Rep. Mark Takano (D-Calif.) on Monday compared congressional Republicans' acceptance of President Trump's executive order restricting immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries to lawmakers who didn't fight against the Japanese internment camps during World War II.
The history of the U.S. government forcing Japanese Americans to live in camps after the attack on Pearl Harbor is personal for Takano: His parents and grandparents were among the people in those camps.
"History often forces us to ask ourselves: How would we have acted if we lived in that moment?" Takano mused in a fiery House floor speech. "Through the president's recent executive order, we no longer have to wonder."
"How you react to the Muslim ban today is how you would have reacted to the imprisonment of my grandparents and parents 75 years ago. If you are silent today, you would have been silent then. If you are complicit today, you would have been complicit then."
Trump, a week into his presidency, issued an executive order temporarily barring U.S. entry for citizens from seven Muslim-majority countries: Iran, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Sudan and Libya. The order also indefinitely halts all Syrian refugee resettlement in the U.S. and temporarily suspends all refugees.
Protests erupted at airports nationwide over the weekend amid confusion as to whether the ban applied to green card holders from the countries named in the executive order. Refugees, green card holders and other visitors were detained upon their arrival at U.S. airports starting on Friday evening after Trump signed the order.
The Department of Homeland Security later clarified on Sunday that allowing entry of lawful permanent residents was "in the national interest." And a judge issued a stay on part of the order, ruling that previously accepted refugees and visa holders who were in transit could not be sent back to their countries of origin.
Dozens of House and Senate Republicans have either come out in opposition to the executive order or expressed concerns.
Democrats in both chambers have introduced legislation to overturn the executive order, but GOP leaders haven't expressed interest in considering it.