Here's Why It's Entirely Appropriate to Compare Donald Trump to the Nazis
The only discernible difference between what Donald Trump is doing to undocumented immigrants on our southern border and what the Nazis did all over Europe to Jews is that the Nazis had to go from house to house to round up their victims, while all Trump’s Border Patrol has to do is wait for their victims to walk or swim across the border.
That’s it. Practically everything else is the same. The actions Trump’s Border Enforcement agents are taking when they separate immigrant children at processing centers from their parents have nothing to do with law enforcement. Neither did the Nazis when they separated Jewish children from their parents inside the gates of Buchenwald and Auschwitz and Dachau. Trump’s agents on the border are carrying out a policy promulgated by his administration. Nazi SS stormtroopers were carrying out the policy of rounding up political opponents, “undesirables,” and Jews, and incarcerating them in concentration camps. These camps were entirely extra-legal. You didn’t have to be convicted of a crime to be incarcerated in a concentration camp. Nor have the immigrants and their children being held in hastily constructed cages been convicted of crimes.
The “crime” in Hitler’s Germany and occupied countries was being Jewish. The “crime” committed by the children being rounded up and caged along our southern border is being brown and undocumented.
There are no similar tactics being carried out along our border with Canada, where immigrants seeking asylum or other protected status are unlikely to be Hispanic or brown. There are no cages full of children in Vermont, or New Hampshire, or Maine, or New York, or Minnesota or Montana or Washington State. No, the cages have been built in Texas and are doubtlessly going up in Arizona, New Mexico and California, and they are for brown people fleeing oppression, gangs, poverty, domestic abuse, and other horrors in Mexico and Central America.
Once they were rounded up, Jews were transported by trucks and trains to concentration camps built all over Germany and the countries Germany conquered and occupied, such as Poland. Down on our southern border, immigrants and their children are rounded up as they cross the border and transported by van and bus to Customs and Border Protection processing centers, such as the one at McAllen, Texas.
Once inside the gates of hell holes like Dachau and Buchenwald, Jewish parents were separated from their children and housed in different facilities. Frequently, husbands and wives were separated from each other, as were brothers and sisters.
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The same thing is happening to the families of undocumented immigrants in McAllen, Texas.
Husbands and wives are separated. Children are separated from their parents. Brothers are separated from their sisters. Brothers are even separated from brothers, and sisters from sisters, when children are further separated into age groups. Thus, a 14 year girl and her 4 year old sister are separated from each other and held in cages at different facilities, often miles away from one another.
There is horrifying film footage of Jews arriving by trains at concentration camps and going through in-processing supervised by SS stormtroopers. The Border Protection processing center at McAllen, Texas, hasn’t allowed our television or print media to witness the in-processing of immigrant children when they are separated from their parents. All we have so far is a tape recording secretly made of children crying when they are taken from their mothers which ProPublica released on Monday.
But if we could see the scenes of in-processing of immigrants at McAllen, Texas, they would be eerily similar to the scenes of Jews entering the concentration camps in Nazi Germany. This is because none of the Jews were in handcuffs or other forms of restraint commonly used in law enforcement when someone is under arrest. Neither are the immigrant children or their parents in Texas.
Neither German Jews or immigrants along our southern border could be described as “going willingly,” but nor did they resist. In the case of Jews in Germany and the rest of Europe, this was because resisting would have been futile. They were rounded up by heavily armed SS units, frequently being surprised in their beds at night and marched out of the doors of their houses and loaded onto trucks with nothing but the clothes on their backs.
Many immigrant families crossing the border without visas or other legal immigration documents willingly surrender themselves to the first Border Patrol agents they encounter because they are seeking asylum and protected status as refugees. They are fleeing gang warfare and other violence in their home countries. They are entering the United States seeking safety.
When they reach the United States, however, they fall victim to the so-called “zero tolerance” policy advocated by Trump aide Stephen Miller, who is the grandson of Jewish immigrants who fled Belarus to escape anti-Jewish pogroms in the Russian empire of the early 20th Century.
When Trump adopted Miller’s policy, instead of processing undocumented immigrants as asylum seekers, Attorney General Jeff Sessions ordered them arrested for the “crime” of crossing into the United States illegally. This “crime” is actually a misdemeanor, equivalent to violating laws against jaywalking. In fact, this is the only policy in existence in the United States of ordering wholesale arrest, incarceration before trial, and prosecution of misdemeanor offenders. If you commit the misdemeanor offense of possessing a joint in hundreds of jurisdictions around this country, you will not be incarcerated before trial, you will not be herded into cages in a retired Walmart somewhere, you will not be issued a sleeping pad and a goddamned mylar “blanket,” you will not be denied a pillow for your head, and you will not be fed prison food, and you will not be allowed outside into sunshine and fresh air only once a day for two hours.
Instead, you will be issued a summons and sent on your way.
But not if you are a brown person crossing our southern border without documentation. Down there in McAllen, Texas, and elsewhere, you will be treated the way the Nazis treated Jews and homosexuals and “undesirables” and political opponents. You will be transported to an American concentration camp. If you are a husband and wife, you will be separated. If you are a child, you will be separated from your mother and father. If you are a brother, you will be separated from your sister.
At a White House meeting back on May 16, Donald Trump called immigrants crossing the southern border “animals.” “We have people coming into the country, or trying to come in, we’re stopping a lot of them. You wouldn’t believe how bad these people are. These aren’t people, these are animals, and we’re taking them out of the country at a level and at a rate that’s never happened before.”
Adolph Hitler spoke of Jews the same way. In “Mein Kampf,” Hitler called Jews “vermin,” and “a parasite in the body of other peoples.”
To Hitler, Jews were less than human. To Trump, illegal immigrants are “animals.”
Well, it has come to this. The election of Donald Trump has finally led us to incarcerating people in concentration camps and treating them like animals.
Trump and his racist aide Stephen Miller and his racist Attorney General Jeff Sessions refer to what they are doing as a “zero tolerance” policy. It’s long past time we applied zero tolerance to Donald Trump and the Republicans who support his inhuman policy on our southern border and vote them the hell out of office.