18 Arrested for Unlawful Protest Comparing ICE to the Holocaust
On Tuesday, protesters with the liberal Jewish group Never Again Action physically blocked the rotunda of Cannon House Office Building in Washington, D.C., staging a "Never Again Is Now" sit-in comparing Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to the Holocaust. Capitol Police arrested 18 of them.
"The United States Capitol Police arrested 18 individuals for unlawfully demonstrating in the Rotunda of the Cannon House Office Building. All were charged with D.C. Code §22-1307, Crowding, Obstructing, or Incommoding," police spokeswoman Eva Malecki told PJ Media.
New York-based activist Ursula Rozum shared video of the arrest.
Never Again Action tweeted about the protest using the hashtag "Never Again Is Now."
"BREAKING: [Jews Against ICE] are sitting in at Congress, targeting ICE’s enablers who continue to write them blank checks for roundups, concentration camps, and prisons around the country," the organization tweeted with pictures of protesters.
On the organization's Facebook page, Never Again Action explicitly compared the enforcement of U.S. immigration law to the Nazi concentration camps under Adolf Hitler in the Holocaust.
"What the U.S. government is doing at the border and in immigrant communities all around the country is nothing short of a mass atrocity," the organization claimed. "Children are being separated from their families at the border and imprisoned in concentration camps. ICE raids are increasing in frequency and severity, instilling fear and terror into immigrant communities."
"Our government refuses to recognize immigrants’ humanity, but the American people can take a stand," the organization claimed.
But it gets worse. "The United States government is targeting immigrants in our community like the Nazis targeted the Jews," Never Again Action argued. "We were taught to never let anything like the Holocaust happen again, so we are sounding the alarm now. We refuse to wait and see -- we know from our own history what happens next. Never again is now."
These arguments echoed Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), who drew widespread ridicule when she compared the detention centers for illegal immigrants to the Nazi Holocaust concentration camps.
On July 2, Ocasio-Cortez doubled down on her claim that "These are concentration camps."
While Ocasio-Cortez has not spoken out about the protest as of yet, she retweeted a Haaretz report about Never Again Action with the quote, "The effort to criminalize immigrants and asylum seekers is all part of a much bigger political ideology that is grounded in white nationalism."
That quote came from Stosh Colter, CEO of the progressive activist group Bend the Arc.
The comparison between concentration camps and detention facilities for illegal immigrants seems a particularly noxious strain of Trump Derangement Syndrome. The U.S. and other countries have enforced immigration law for centuries. Those who break the law are considered criminals, and have been for centuries. The effort to arrest illegal immigrants is not denying their "humanity" or at all comparable with Hitler's horrific efforts to annihilate Jews and other "undesirables" in the Holocaust.
Lawful attempts to disincentivize illegal immigration are absolutely nothing like the racist extermination camps in the Holocaust. The few immigrants who have died in these facilities often already had life-threatening conditions before they came to America. By contrast, Hitler rounded up German citizens for death merely for the crime of being Jews, homosexuals, Roma, or others. This comparison is an ugly insult to the victims of the true evil of the Holocaust.
Ironically, activists who rush to compare Trump's immigration policies to the Holocaust may want to research immigration policies under President Barack Obama.
The infamous photos of "kids in cages" by the border came from 2014 under the Obama administration, not under Trump. Photos showing immigrants sleeping on the concrete floor also date from Obama's tenure, in 2015.
The Obama administration used tear gas against immigrants 126 times, according to FactCheck.org. The Obama administration also separated families at the border, refusing to place children in detention centers with their parents. Democrats and liberals have demonized these policies, conveniently forgetting that Democratic presidents have also used them.
If Trump is Hitler for his immigration policies and ICE is the Holocaust, then Obama was also Hitler.
Rather than engaging in specious claims that immigration laws by their very nature deny the "humanity" of immigrants and perpetuate a Holocaust, liberal activists should demand real immigration reform to address the ever-increasing mass of humanity coming across America's southern border. America can loosen immigration requirements while still preventing people from crossing the border illegally. Congress needs to act on this important issue.
Breaking America's laws by crossing the border illegally does not show respect to the country these immigrants want to join. America should be a haven and a hope for people seeking a better life, but the U.S. has the sovereignty to limit the number of immigrants it accepts. Limiting immigration is absolutely nothing like the Holocaust, and activists should be ashamed of themselves for the comparison.
Follow Tyler O'Neil, the author of this article, on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.