Justice

Viriginia Mayor Shows How NOT to Respond to the Refugee Crisis

In the days that have followed the attacks in Paris, a growing list of conservative U.S. politicians have made some controversial statements about the country's decision to accept refugees fleeing religious and political persecution in Syria. But the latest controversy—a statement from Roanoke, Virginia, mayor David Bowers—is perhaps the most misinformed response of them all.

Bowers cites the bombing of a Russian airliner last month, the attacks in Paris that left more than 120 people dead, and an alleged threat to Washington, D.C. (all reportedly tied to the terrorist group known as ISIS), arguing that "it is presently imprudent to assist in the relocation of Syrian refugees to our part of Virginia."

RELATED: U.S. States Move to Block Syrian Refugees From Asylum

To be sure, that's more or less what U.S. governors of 30 states have publicly said in response to the Paris attacks. But then Bowers' attempts to justify his rejection of Syrian refugees by comparing his stance to that of former president Franklin Roosevelt, who "felt compelled to sequester Japanese foreign nationals after the bombing of Pearl Harbor."

"[I]t appears that the threat of harm to American from ISIS now is just as real and serious as that from our enemies then," Bowers adds.

For historical context, Roosevelt ordered the deportation and incarceration of more than 100,000 Japanese Americans following the bombing of Pearl Harbor, sentencing them to internment camps—a move that is now universally recognized as morally wrong and exists in infamy in American history.

RELATED: Why It's Disgraceful to Blame Refugees for the Attacks in Paris

Bowers' cringeworthy comments drew immediate criticism online; a copy of the statement has quickly circulated on Twitter.

“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free."

Posted by ATTN: on Tuesday, November 17, 2015