Rep. Steve Knight refuses to denounce indefinite internment of immigrants

Rep. Steve Knight

Congressman Steve Knight refuses to back down from his bill for federal internment camps to indefinitely detain immigrant families seeking asylum.

Congressman Steve Knight (R-Palmdale) is fervently committed to bringing back World War II-era internment camps to lock up immigrant families for months or even years.

In the early summer, Knight introduced a bill to spend $50 million of taxpayer funds to construct internment camps for immigrant families, reminiscent of federal facilities used in the late 1940s to imprison Japanese-Americans in the aftermath of the attack on Pearl Harbor.

When Knight introduced his internment camp bill, he boasted about it in a press release, claiming it was his a way to stop the Trump administration’s family separation policy. In his own words, Knight was inspired to indefinitely detain immigrant families in federal camps by “a common respect for human dignity.”

In a recent interview with The Talk of Santa Clarita, Knight was asked about his desire to lock up families who are often fleeing war, rape, and violence in order to seek asylum in the United States.

Knight refused to give a straight answer to simple questions.

When asked directly if his bill would lead to indefinite internment, Knight misleadingly said, “Well, I don’t know if it’s indefinite internment, we’ve seen the adjudication between three and five days.”

The timeframe Knight gives is not true. The average national wait time for immigration adjudication is two years, and some courts have a five-year backlog.

The interviewer, Stephen Daniels, is aware of the facts and asks Knight a simple follow-up question: “Congressman, when it takes up to two years sometimes to run a court date for someone that is requiring amnesty, or requesting amnesty, that seems to me, practically indefinite internment.”

At this point, Knight fell apart.

“Well, well, then I guess I would ask you a question. What would we do?” Knight replied.

It is not the job of Daniels or members of the media to craft public policy. Knight was elected — twice — as a member of Congress. His job description is to write and pass laws for the United States of America.

But when pressed by an interviewer about the impact of his bill, Knight refuses to back down. But he still can’t come up with a response to the most basic of questions.

About 150 miles north of Knight’s hometown, the Manzanar War Relocation Center was one of 10 internment camps set up by the federal government during World War II. It imprisoned about 10,000 men, women, and children during one of the darkest periods of American history.

The site is now a national park and museum where people can learn about the atrocities committed, when past leaders answered the question of “What would we do?” with the answer of internment.

Knight seems determined to repeat history, and when confronted with that fact he can’t even give a straight answer about it.