As the world stirs with anxiety and debate about US President Trump’s executive order that bans refugees from seven Muslim countries, as always, it is important to look to the past to best understand the context in which current affairs unfold.
Reprinted from PostBulletin.com – a wise letter from Susan Bailey
Jan. 27, 2017 was International Holocaust Remembrance Day. The White House took two actions.
First, it issued a statement which, unlike administration statements since 2005, mentioned only the “victims” of the Holocaust, but not the Nazis’ systematic extermination of 6 million Jews.
Second, the White House issued an executive order that bans refugees from seven Muslim countries. How is this relevant? America kept out Jewish refugees prior to the Holocaust.
In 1939, a bill that would have allowed 20,000 German Jewish children to escape to the U.S. was rejected by Congress. Almost 1,000 Jewish refugees on the ship the St. Louis were turned away and sent back to perish in Nazi Germany.
The liberation of Auschwitz in 1945 made a profound impression on the U.S. public. In 1948, Congress changed U. S. immigration policy, based on a recognition of adverse humanitarian consequences.
Now, it seems, U.S. immigration policy is returning to that of 1939, this time banning Muslims rather than Jews. Emma Lazarus’ words are on our Statue of Liberty: “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
On International Holocaust Remembrance Day, our administration showed a lack of remembrance.