President-elect Donald Trump has a history of Islamophobic remarks. In fact, when asked about Islamophobia at one of the presidential debate, Trump responded by encouraging Muslims to "report when they see something going on." He's previously called for a ban on Muslims entering the United States—that ban proposal was removed from Trump's website after the election.
With that said, one of Trump's advisors told Reuters earlier this week that Trump is considering a registry for immigrants from Muslim countries as a part of his "extreme vetting" plan. And just last night, a Trump supporter defended the proposed Muslim registry by citing the American use of Japanese internment camps as "precedent."
Megyn Kelly interviewed Carl Higbie, a former Navy Seal and Trump supporter who lead the pro-Trump Great America PAC. Kelly began by introducing Higbie as a "big defender" of "better screening for certain Muslim immigrants."
Kelly suggested that many Americans would like to believe "we don't do that kind of thing, we don't create registries based on religion." Higbie shot back, "Well, we have in the past, we've done it based on race, we've done it based on religion, and we've done it based on region." Noting that people are trying to make it a constitutional issue, Higbie argued, "People outside of this country are not protected under the same constitutional rights as we are in America."
Kelly asks Higbie to clarify if he thinks this is a good idea and if he doesn't care that this is a slippery slope, creating a potential for the government to unfairly target Muslims. "Look, being a part of the Muslim faith is not a bad thing," Higbie said, before going on to suggest that we should treat them like it's a bad thing anyway. Because a small percentage of Muslims align themselves with an "extreme ideology within the faith" and cause harm, Higbie says we should "keep tabs" on Muslims "until we figure out what's going on."
While noting that the American Civil Liberties Union will almost certainly fight the proposal, Higbie said the proposal would be legal and "hold constitutional muster." He elaborated, "We’ve done it with Iran back awhile ago. We did it during World War II with the Japanese," noting President Franklin D. Roosevelt's horrific policy that resulted in 120,000 Japanese Americans being imprisoned in internment camps—a decision the ACLU says is "universally acknowledged as a shameful act."
Back in December, Donald Trump used the same argument to defend his Muslim ban proposal: "What I’m doing is no different than FDR’s solution for German, Italian, Japanese, you know."
Kelly was shocked by Higbie's internment camp comment: "Come on, you're not proposing we go back to the days of internment camps, I hope."
"I’m not proposing that at all, Megyn," Higbie replied. But Kelly doubled down on Higbie, "You know better than to suggest that. I mean, that's the kind of stuff that gets people scared, Carl."
"I’m just saying there is precedent for it, and I'm not saying I agree with it, but in this case I absolutely believe that—" Higbie said before Kelly cut him off by saying, "You can’t be citing Japanese internment camps as precedent for anything the president-elect is gonna do!"
Higbie went back to his argument that the people on the proposed registry "are not protected under our constitution," so "until we can identify the true threat and where it's coming from, I support it." Kelly pointed out before wrapping up the interview, "You get the [constitutional] protections once you come here."
It's not clear how long Higbie believes it will take to "identify the true threat and where it's coming from." When it comes to terrorists, domestic extremists—who wouldn't be affected by the registry—have killed more Americans than international terrorists. You're far less likely to die as a result of terrorism than you are as a result of a heart attack, cancer, car accidents, or being crushed by furniture, according to the Washington Post. In fact, you're more likely to be shot by a toddler than killed by a terrorist.
So hopefully somebody can help Higbie "identify the true threat" before he gets around to curtailing civil liberties.