Megyn Kelly chides Trump advocate who cites Japanese internment camps as precedent for Muslim registry

Megyn Kelly squares off against Carl Higbie over Japanese internment camps
(Image credit: Fox News/YouTube)

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, an anti-immigration hardliner, is part of President-elect Donald Trump's transition team, and according to Reuters, he would like Trump to consider instituting a registry and tracking system for visitors to the U.S. from some Muslim countries. The George W. Bush administration put a system like that in place in 2002, but the Obama administration scrapped it in 2011. Carl Higbie, a former Navy SEAL and spokesman for a pro-Trump super PAC, argued on Wednesday's Kelly File that such a system would be both legal and a good idea. And he cited some colorful precedents.

"I know the ACLU is gonna challenge it, but I think it'll pass," Higbie told Megyn Kelly. "We did it during World War II with Japanese, which, you know, call it what you will, maybe...." Kelly jumped in: "Come on, you're not — you're not proposing we go back to the days of internment camps, I hope." He said no, and Kelly continued: "You know better than to suggest that. I mean, that's the kind of stuff that gets people scared, Carl." Higbie said he's "just saying there is precedent for it, and I'm not saying I agree with it," and Kelly cut in again: "You can't be citing Japanese internment camps as precedent for anything the president-elect is going to do."

Higbie's answer won't inspire a lot of confidence in people who think a Muslim registry is a bad idea: "Look, the president needs to protect America first, and if that means having people that are not protected under our Constitution have some sort of registry so we can understand, until we can identify the true threat and where it's coming from, I support it." As New York explains, Higbie isn't entirely wrong that the system would likely pass legal muster — and maybe even internment camps. You can watch Kelly face off against Higbie below. Peter Weber

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Peter Weber

Peter Weber is a senior editor at, and has handled the editorial night shift since the website launched in 2008. A graduate of Northwestern University, Peter has worked at Facts on File and The New York Times Magazine. He speaks Spanish and Italian and plays bass and rhythm cello in an Austin rock band. Follow him on Twitter.