Takei was forceably relocated to a camp with his family as a child, one of 120,000 Japanese-Americans who were displaced from their homes, jobs and businesses by wartime paranoia.
“Let us all be clear: ‘National security’ must never again be permitted to justify wholesale denial of constitutional rights and protections,” Takei wrote in an opinion column in The Washington Post.
“If it is freedom and our way of life that we fight for, our first obligation is to ensure that our own government adheres to those principles. Without that, we are no better than our enemies,” he added.
Takei was referring to comments by Trump transition team member Kris Kobach.
Kobach said the administration could use the precedent set by World War II-era internment camps to force Muslim-Americans from countries where terrorists are active to register with the government, according to The New York Times.
Carl Higbie, a former spokesman for Great America PAC, which support Trump’s election, also told Fox News’ “The Kelly File” the internment camp precedent could also be used to justify tagging immigrants.
Under questioning, Higbie said he was not advocating the construction of camps.
Takei warned citizens to prevent the government from using the idea as an “instrument of terror and division.”
“We cannot permit this invidious thinking, discredited by history at the cost of so much misery and suffering by innocents, to take root once again in America, let alone in the White House,” he said. “The stigmatization, separation and labeling of our fellow humans based on race or religion has never led to a more secure world. But it has too often led to one where the most vulnerable pay the highest price.”
During the campaign, Trump advocated creating a database of Muslim Americans, regardless of their background or history, even though it smacked of Nazi persecution of the Jews.
“We did it during World War II with Japanese, which you know, call it what you will,” he said.
Right, just call them concentration camps.
In 1988, Congress passed and President Ronald Reagan signed into law a bill formally apologizing to those who were herded into the camps.
Takei, who was five-years-old at the time. He recalled how he and family members were led from their homes at gunpoint. They were first taken to a horse stable near a racetrack.
Then, the were transferred by train to Rohwer War Relocation Center in Arkansas. He described it as a prison staffed by armed guards and showered by searchlights.
“It had been a Democratic administration at the time, under Franklin D. Roosevelt, that had ordered us to the camps, proving that demagoguery and race-baiting knows no party,” he wrote.
Trump has frequently compared his Muslim ban to Roosevelt’s internment camps and has refused to repudiate the idea.
Takei’s only crime was being an American of Japanese descent.
About 60 percent of those sent to the camps were American citizens, most of whom were born in the United States and had no loyalty to Japan.
Let us know your thoughts and be sure to follow IM on Twitter for the latest election coverage.