Don't mess with George Takei, especially if you haven't got your facts straight.
That was the lesson the actor gave to Roanoke, Va., Mayor David A. Bowers after he made a statement regarding his stance on blocking assistance to refugees within the city. While the states don't have the power to actually make the call to stop refugees from coming, many have voiced their intended course of action on the matter.
He expressed his stance in a letter.
"I am convinced it is presently imprudent to assist in the relocation of refugees to our part of Virginia. Thus, today, I am requesting that all Roanoke governments and agencies suspend and delay any further Syrian refugee assistance ..." he wrote.
Then he said this.
"I'm reminded that President D. Franklin Roosevelt felt compelled to sequester Japanese foreign nationals after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, and it appears that the threat to harm America from ISIS now is just as real and serious as that from our enemies then."
Apparently, Mayor Bowers didn't get the memo that putting innocent Japanese-Americans in internment camps wasn't only a mistake, but may have been unconstitutional.
Luckily, Takei took to Facebook to set him straight:
Mayor Bowers, there are a few key points of history you seem to have missed:
1) The internment (not a "sequester") was not of Japanese "foreign nationals," but of Japanese Americans, two-thirds of whom were U.S. citizens. I was one of them, and my family and I spent 4 years in prison camps because we happened to look like the people who bombed Pearl Harbor. It is my life's mission to never let such a thing happen again in America.
2) There never was any proven incident of espionage or sabotage from the suspected "enemies" then, just as there has been no act of terrorism from any of the 1,854 Syrian refugees the U.S. already has accepted. We were judged based on who we looked like, and that is about as un-American as it gets.
3) If you are attempting to compare the actual threat of harm from the 120,000 of us who were interned then to the Syrian situation now, the simple answer is this: There was no threat. We loved America. We were decent, honest, hard-working folks. Tens of thousands of lives were ruined, over nothing.
"Mayor Bowers, one of the reasons I am telling our story on Broadway eight times a week in Allegiance is because of people like you," he continued. "You who hold a position of authority and power, but you demonstrably have failed to learn the most basic of American civics or history lessons."