President-elect Donald Trump’s pick for secretary of state may not have ruled out the idea of compiling a national Muslim registry, but San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee condemned the notion Friday after a news conference at a local mosque.
The mayor plans to introduce legislation later this month alongside Supervisor Malia Cohen that would prohibit all city agencies from contributing to a registry of Muslims in the U.S., comparing the idea to a “Gestapo-era type” of action, Japanese internment camps and the Chinese Exclusion Act.
“I am totally, 100 percent opposed to any registry that identifies anyone because of their religion or race,” Lee said. “This just smacks of McCarthyism, not just 50 years ago but the discriminatory acts that our country and our city did 100 years ago to people from my ethnicity.”
The mayor had just announced a campaign to protect undocumented immigrants and marginalized residents in San Francisco, many of whom live in fear as a result of the recent election. The campaign includes a $1.5 million boost for immigrant legal protections in the 2016-17 fiscal year above the $3.8 funded this fiscal year.
The mayor’s comments come days after Secretary of State nominee Rex Tillerson did not shoot down the idea of a Muslim registry during his confirmation hearing, according to various media reports.
“I would need to have a lot more information around how such an approach would even be constructed,” Tillerson reportedly told senators Wednesday.
Trump has repeatedly expressed his support for such a registry, as well as a ban on Muslims entering the country which Tillerson said he does not support.
The mayor directed his staff and the City Attorney’s Office to draft the legislation and plans to introduce it at the Board of Supervisors meeting Jan. 24, according to the Mayor’s Office.
Cohen said in a statement that the legislation is part of a “more comprehensive Sanctuary City ordinance,” including protections for undocumented residents and the rejection of instructions from Washington, D.C., to register residents based on religion.
“Our country made a horrendous mistake with the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II and we have no interest in participating in systems that would repeat that history,” Cohen said.