Good news: Barney Frank injects Holocaust into immigration debate
posted at 6:25 pm on October 7, 2009 by Allahpundit
Via Breitbart, a reminder that it’s never too early to Godwin a policy discussion, especially when it’s already super-charged with rage and bad faith. To be clear, he’s not comparing U.S. immigration law to the Holocaust; he’s saying that if immigration law then was like immigration law now, his ancestors never would have made it here and would have ended up in the camps. Which may, for all I know, be true in the particular case of his family, but as a general rule, it’s revisionist history. From the Jewish Virtual Library:
Thousands of Jews in Germany were successful in fleeing before the onset of hostilities in 1939, especially in the early years of the Nazi period. Many of these refugees were able to find their way aboard ships headed for American ports. There are, however, tragic stories of these ships being turned away by immigration officials, and their occupants returned to Europe to face the gas chambers (see story about the St. Louis voyage). Each nation had its own story of how its government and citizens responded to the horrors of the Holocaust. The following are capsules of some of these stories.
United States — Despite the fact that the U.S. received early reports about the desperate plight of European Jewry, procrastination and inaction marked its policies toward rescue. Immigration quotas were never increased for the emergency; the existing quotas, in fact, were never filled.
Wagner-Rogers legislation — Legislation was introduced in the United States Congress in 1939 by Rep. Robert Wagner to admit a total of 20,000 Jewish children over a two-year period above the refugee quota applicable at the time. The legislation was inspired by similar efforts by the Dutch and British government to save Jewish children from Nazi terror. The legislation was amended in committee to admit the 20,000 children only if the number of Jewish refugees admitted under the regular quota was reduced by 20,000. The bill died in the House after the sponsor withdrew his support for the bill in frustration.
That’s a disgraceful reality about American history but I’m not sure what lesson Frank wants us to take from it. We still have a quota of admitting 80,000 victims of political/religious persecution each year, and unless I missed a memo, no one has a problem with that. If he wants to raise the limit, fine, but it sounds like he’s more interested in equating the extraordinary hardship of 1930s Europe with the ordinary hardships of third-world countries today. How many populations are we supposed to swallow here, champ, and on what grounds, precisely? Any limits?
Stick with it or you’ll miss him explaining that dismantling Israeli settlements won’t do anything to win Hamas over, which is precisely why Israel should go ahead and dismantle them. Or something.