Va. mayor apologizes for invoking Japanese internment camps in refugee debate

The mayor of Roanoke, Va., apologized Friday for invoking World War II Japanese internment camps in warning that his community should not accept Syrian refugees.

Mayor David Bowers’ apology came during a Roanoke City Council meeting. The comments caused a firestorm earlier this week, and led to his separation from the Hillary Clinton campaign, where he had a local leadership role.

On Friday, Bowers said he’s sorry for his “unwise and inappropriate comparison … any such comparison was a mistake and I apologize for this mistake.”

The mayor originally put out the statement on refugees Wednesday, as dozens of governors were also announcing their opposition to accepting new Syrian refugees in the wake of last week's Paris terror attack.

The mayor said, "I'm reminded that President Franklin D. Roosevelt felt compelled to sequester Japanese foreign nationals after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, and it appears that the threat of harm to America from Isis now is just as real and serious as that from our enemies then."

Bowers, who was part of the Clinton campaign’s Virginia Leadership Council, reportedly was kicked off the campaign amid the backlash to the statement. “The internment of people of Japanese descent is a dark cloud on our nation’s history and to suggest that it is anything but a horrible moment in our past is outrageous,” Clinton spokesman Josh Schwerin said Wednesday, according to the Washington Times.

The comments even elicited a response from Japanese-American actor George Takei, who was in an internment camp as a child. The “Star Trek” star, on Facebook, invited Bowers to see his musical, “Allegiance” -- which is about that experience -- after saying Bowers had “failed to learn the most basic of American civics or history lessons” and showed a “galling lack of compassion for people fleeing these same [ISIS] terrorists.”

Bowers’ office did not say whether he planned to attend when asked by