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The embattled mayor of Roanoke, Virginia, apologized Friday for comments earlier in the week citing the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II in a statement defending his push to keep Syrian refugees out of the area.

“I apologize to all of those offended by my remarks, Mayor David Bowers said at a special meeting of the Roanoke City Council. “In particular, I apologize to Americans of Japanese descent for the unwise and inappropriate comparison between the internment of Americans of Japanese descent during World War II and the current refugee crisis.”

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