No, Illegal Immigrants Do Not Share The Plight Of Holocaust Victims

To speak as though the plight of even the most sympathetic illegal immigrants is analogous to the plight of Jews during the Holocaust is simply egregious.

Jonathan S. Tobin By Jonathan S. Tobin

MARCH 21, 2018

It’s easy to sympathize with the families of illegal immigrants. They are caught in a terrible bind that often places children who are American citizens in a position where their parents who came here illegally face deportation. Their tears are genuine as they face the prospect of either being forced to move to countries where they’ve never lived or being separated from loved ones. The families and individuals in this predicament who choose to evade the law live in fear of discovery.

Such situations are very sad. But are those caught in such dilemmas the moral equivalent of Holocaust victims in hiding from the Nazis? Are the agents of Immigration and Customs Enforcement no different from the Gestapo or others who cooperated with the Hitler regime? Does a knock on the door from ICE the same thing as being sent to a certain awful death at Auschwitz merely for the crime of being Jewish?

That’s the argument being made by religious congregations that are seeking to provide sanctuary for illegals who are eligible for deportation. This effort, which was highlighted by a dramatic CNN news feature aired last week, depicts those involved as victims of a heartless state that deserves to be resisted, not least because it is headed by a president they despise. Those who seek to provide sanctuary think of themselves as not merely engaging in a political protest, but as the moral equivalent of righteous gentiles who sought to hide Jews from the Hitler regime.

In doing so they aren’t merely demonstrating a lack of respect for the rule of law, they’re also insulting the memory of the actual Holocaust. This goes beyond the sort of ordinary virtue signaling on the order of those who put “Hate has no home here” signs on their lawns. It is brazen law breaking justified by a dramatic self-regard in which those involved imagine themselves taking part in a dramatic rebellion against tyranny.

It also demonstrates the corrosive nature of the left’s commitment to “resistance” rather than mere opposition to the Trump administration. Those who have claimed that there was no harm to the left’s adoption of such terms must now confront a culture of contempt for law that has spread from liberal politicians like Oakland’s Mayor Libby Schaaf to religious congregations, with unforeseen consequences for American democracy.

Even without inappropriate analogies, the concept of sanctuary cities or congregations is a dubious one, both from an ethical and a legal point of view. The essence of democracy is a willingness to accept the rule of law, even when you don’t necessarily approve each law. Applied on a general scale, the idea that some laws can be disregarded is a recipe for anarchy and chaos.

That is bad enough when such sentiments are mouthed by small government conservatives who don’t bristle at the exercise of almost all forms of government power in principle. Coming from liberals who believe in big government as a matter of faith it is the height of hypocrisy. Nor is it something most on the left would accept if it were a matter of Tea Party activists demanding to be exempted of taxes they thought were unjust or the right of government agents to intervene in private sector transactions. Those who cheer not merely the flouting of immigration laws by illegal immigrants, but also thwarting the efforts of federal authorities to enforce those statues are the first to cry for crippling fines, or worse, for those who ask to be exempted from federal mandates about contraception or gay marriage.

It is doubly outrageous when local governments set themselves up in opposition to Washington’s right to enforce laws that clearly fall under the federal rubric. The debate about whether states had a right to nullify federal laws they didn’t like was definitively decided during the Civil War.

Moreover, it is difficult to see exactly what legal principle sanctuary advocates are defending. If all foreign residents without legal permission to remain in the United States are deserving of protection against the right of the government to enforce immigration laws, then the assertion of a “right” to sanctuary in a state, municipality or house of worship isn’t so much an argument for liberalizing the law so much as it is one that any limits on the right of anyone to be in the United States are wrong.

Sanctuary doesn’t discriminate between various kinds of illegal immigrants. It is not just for people who were brought to this country illegally as children or their families, but for anyone. There is no real logical distinction between sanctuary and a demand for no borders and no border security of any kind.

It is possible to argue that resistance against unjust laws is quintessentially American. Indeed, opposition to the pre-Civil War federal statute that demanded the return of runaway slaves to their owners is something we rightly treat as a glorious chapter in American history. But even if you think immigration laws should be liberalized it is simply not possible to put forward a serious argument of any kind that a person who is here in the United States without legal permission and therefore faces deportation to his country of origin is in the same position as someone enslaved.

But it is especially egregious, not to mention mendacious, to speak as if the plight of even the most sympathetic illegal immigrants are somehow analogous to the plight of Jews during the Holocaust as the unidentified giver of sanctuary in the CNN feature asserted.

Must we remind the Jewish family that was portrayed on CNN as heroes and who flaunted their religious identification as justification for their conduct, that whatever fate may await illegals, deportation to their homes is not a ticket to a death factory? Illegal immigrants are not targeted for their ethnic identity or their faith. They are subject to prosecution because — no matter who they are or where they came from — they committed a felony by crossing into the United States without permission or remaining after a visa expires.

Unlike the overwhelming majority of illegal immigrants who came to the United States seeking work and a better life but were unwilling or unable to wait in line like those who seek legal entry to the country, Jews didn’t flee the Nazis looking for economic opportunity. They were marked for death because of who they were and six million died merely for the crime of being a Jew.

To behave as if everyone on the lam from the law is the same as a Jew being hunted down by Nazis is to diminish not only the singularity of that historic crime, but also its meaning. To treat every child in hiding as if she were another Anne Frank is to undermine the lesson of that iconic diarist’s plight, her suffering and her ultimate fate at the hands of the Nazi death machine.

Serious people avoid Holocaust analogies for the simple reason that there is nothing remotely comparable to the annihilation of European Jewry except other instances of genocide. Say what you will about America’s broken immigration system but it is not mass murder or an instance of a tyrant breaking the laws to victimize a specific group. To the contrary, ICE’s efforts are legal efforts to enforce laws that were freely and fairly voted into law by a democratically elected Congress. Those who are arrested have the right to appeal their deportations and may, if they can, assert extenuating circumstances that warrant the court’s allowing them to remain in the United States. It may not be perfect, but saying that those who haven’t the legal right to stay in the United States ought not to remain isn’t fascism.

Those who spread these despicable analogies and engage in this illegal behavior are acting as if they can relive the tragedies of the past, while playing romantic heroes who fought the Holocaust. That ought to be a bridge too far even for groups and religious denominations that oppose current immigration law and want amnesty for illegals. It is incumbent upon their leaders to speak out against this outrage and to instruct their members of the cost to civil society of “resistance” against the law. If they fail to do so, they are both trivializing the memory of the Holocaust and undermining any case they might otherwise make for their cause.

Jonathan S. Tobin is editor in chief of and a contributing writer for National Review. 

Copyright © 2018 The Federalist, a wholly independent division of FDRLST Media, All Rights Reserved.


 The US Supreme Court upholds key part of Arizona immigration law - 6/25/2012

- 6/25/2012

Supreme Court has reached a decision in Arizona v. US.

Three of four provisions have been struck down, however, Section 2(B) of SB 1070, the part of the bill that allows local police officers to ask for immigration status after a crime, has been upheld. The Supreme Court has sent the remaining three provisions back to the Ninth Circuit. The Court ruled it was inappropriate for lower courts to strike down Section 2(B).

According to the Court opinion:

STRUCK- Section 3:

Makes failure to comply with federal alien-registration requirements a state misdemeanor.

Section 3 of S. B. 1070 creates a new state misde- meanor. It forbids the “willful failure to complete or carry an alien registration document . . . in violation of 8 United States Code section 1304(e) or 1306(a).” Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. §11–1509(A) (West Supp. 2011). In effect, §3 adds a state-law penalty for conduct proscribed by federal law. The United States contends that this state enforcement mechanism intrudes on the field of alien registration, a field in which Congress has left no room for States to regulate.

STRUCK- Section 5(C):

Makes it a misdemeanor for an unauthorized alien to seek or engage in work in the State.

Unlike §3, which replicates federal statutory require­ ments, §5(C) enacts a state criminal prohibition where no federal counterpart exists. The provision makes it a state misdemeanor for “an unauthorized alien to knowingly ap- ply for work, solicit work in a public place or perform work as an employee or independent contractor” in Ari­ zona. Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. §13–2928(C) (West Supp. 2011). Violations can be punished by a $2,500 fine and incarcera­ tion for up to six months. See §13–2928(F); see also §§13–707(A)(1) (West 2010); 13–802(A); 13–902(A)(5). The United States contends that the provision upsets the bal- ance struck by the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (IRCA) and must be preempted as an obstacle to the federal plan of regulation and control.

STRUCK - Section 6:

Authorizes state and local officers to arrest without a warrant a person "the officer has probable cause to believe has committed any public offense that makes the person removable form the United States."

Section 6 of S. B. 1070 provides that a state officer, “without a warrant, may arrest a person if the officer has probable cause to believe . . . [the person] has committed any public offense that makes [him] removable from the United States.” Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. §13–3883(A)(5) (West Supp. 2011). The United States argues that arrests authorized by this statute would be an obstacle to the removal system Congress created.

UPHELD - Section 2(B):

Requires officers conducting a stop, detention, or arrest to make efforts, in some circumstances, to verify the person's immigration status with the Federal Government.

Section 2(B) of S. B. 1070 requires state officers to make a “reasonable attempt . . . to determine the immigration status” of any person they stop, detain, or arrest on some other legitimate basis if “reasonable suspicion exists that the person is an alien and is unlawfully present in the United States.” Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. §11–1051(B) (West 2012). The law also provides that “[a]ny person who is arrested shall have the person’s immigration status de­ termined before the person is released.” Ibid. The accepted way to perform these status checks is to contact ICE, which maintains a database of immigration records.

Essentially what this means is: illegals can still look for and work in Arizona without penalty, Arizona cannot punish illegals with state penalties for breaking federal immigration laws and police cannot use "reasonable suspicion" to justify asking about legal status but can ask about legal status after a crime has been committed (speeding, burglary, rape, etc.)

Justices Scalia, Thomas and Alito have filed opinions in this case. According to SCOTUSBlog, "the court say that it is not clear whether application of this provision will interfere with immigration law," and "the SB 1070 decision is a significant win for the Obama administration. It got almost everything it wanted." Justice Kagan recused herself from the decision because of her involvement in the case as the Solicitor General of the United States, the ruling was 5-3.

From Scalia's opinion in which he discussed President Obama's move last week to grant amnesty to young illegals brought to to the United States by their parents:

"Today’s opinion, ap­ proving virtually all of the Ninth Circuit’s injunction against enforcement of the four challenged provisions of Arizona’s law, deprives States of what most would con- sider the defining characteristic of sovereignty: the power to exclude from the sovereign’s territory people who have no right to be there. Neither the Constitution itself nor even any law passed by Congress supports this result. I dissent."

"As a sovereign, Arizona has the inherent power to ex­ clude persons from its territory, subject only to those limitations expressed in the Constitution or constitution­ ally imposed by Congress. That power to exclude has long been recognized as inherent in sovereignty."

"What this case comes down to, then, is whether the Arizona law conflicts with federal immigration law— whether it excludes those whom federal law would admit, or admits those whom federal law would exclude. It does not purport to do so. It applies only to aliens who neither possess a privilege to be present under federal law nor have been removed pursuant to the Federal Government’s inherent authority."

"The most important point is that, as we have discussed, Arizona is entitled to have “its own immigration policy”—including a more rigorous enforcement policy—so long as that does not conflict with federal law. "

"It has become clear that federal enforcement priorities—in the sense of priorities based on the need to allocate “scarce enforcement resources”—is not the problem here. After this case was argued and while it was under consideration, the Secretary of Homeland Security announced a program exempting from immi- gration enforcement some 1.4 million illegal immigrants under the age of 30.4."

Arizona Governor Jan Brewer has issued a statement saying the ruling is a victory for the state:

U.S. Supreme Court Decision Upholds Heart of SB 1070.

“Today’s decision by the U.S. Supreme Court is a victory for the rule of law. It is also a victory for the 10th Amendment and all Americans who believe in the inherent right and responsibility of states to defend their citizens. After more than two years of legal challenges, the heart of SB 1070 can now be implemented in accordance with the U.S. Constitution.

“While we are grateful for this legal victory, today is an opportunity to reflect on our journey and focus upon the true task ahead: the implementation and enforcement of this law in an even-handed manner that lives up to our highest ideals as American citizens. I know the State of Arizona and its law enforcement officers are up to the task. The case for SB 1070 has always been about our support for the rule of law. That means every law, including those against both illegal immigration and racial profiling. Law enforcement will be held accountable should this statute be misused in a fashion that violates an individual’s civil rights.

“The last two years have been spent in preparation for this ruling. Upon signing SB 1070 in 2010, I issued an Executive Order directing the Arizona Peace Officer Standards and Training Board (AZ POST) to develop and provide training to ensure our officers are prepared to enforce this law efficiently, effectively and in a manner consistent with the Constitution. In recent days, in anticipation of this decision, I issued a new Executive Order asking that this training be made available once again to all of Arizona’s law enforcement officers. I am confident our officers are prepared to carry out this law responsibly and lawfully. Nothing less is acceptable.

“Of course, today’s ruling does not mark the end of our journey. It can be expected that legal challenges to SB 1070 and the State of Arizona will continue. Our critics are already preparing new litigation tactics in response to their loss at the Supreme Court, and undoubtedly will allege inequities in the implementation of the law. As I said two years ago on the day I signed SB 1070 into law, ‘We cannot give them that chance. We must use this new tool wisely, and fight for our safety with the honor Arizona deserves.’”

Be sure to watch for a domino effect from this opinion on states such as Alabama, Utah, Georgia, Mississippi and others who followed Arizona's lead to take on the illegal immigration issue at the state level.

As of this morning, a new Rasmussen Report shows that 55 percent of likely voters wanted the Supreme Cour to uphold the law and want something similar in their own states.

Most voters still want an immigration law like Arizona’s in their own state and hope the U.S. Supreme Court upholds the legality of the Arizona law this week.

The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 55% of Likely U.S. Voters would like to see the Supreme Court uphold the law that Arizona adopted to reduce illegal immigration in the state. Just 26% would like to see the high court overturn the law. Nineteen percent (19%) are undecided.

Fifty-three percent (53%) of voters favor passage of an immigration law like Arizona’s in their own state. Thirty-one percent (31%) are opposed to such a measure in the state where they live. Sixteen percent (16%) are undecided.

Arizona Cochise County Sheriff Larry Dever has also issued a statement:

“During the Supreme Court’s April hearing of SB 1070, Section 2B was widely discussed and they upheld that provision today. While this is not a total win, it is a partial victory for Sheriffs, who are constitutional officers, and confirms we have the authority to inquire of the legal status of people we think are here illegally.

“Unfortunately, Section 2B does not go far enough to eliminate sanctuary cities and they will continue to be a draw for illegal immigrants.” 



What to take away from the Supreme Court ruling:

In his 22 page dissent, Justice Scalia indicated the following:

"The president said at a news conference that the new program is 'the right thing to do' in light of Congress's failure to pass the administra­tion's proposed revision of the Immigration Act," Scalia, a Reagan appointee, wrote in his dissent. "Perhaps it is, though Arizona may not think so. But to say, as the Court does, that Arizona contradicts federal law by enforc­ing applications of the Immigration Act that the President declines to enforce boggles the mind."

Scalia went on to write:

Arizona bears the brunt of the country's illegal immigration problem. Its citizens feel themselves under siege by large numbers of illegal immigrants who invade their property, strain their social services, and even place their lives in jeopardy. Federal officials have been unable to remedy the problem,and indeed have recently shown that they are unwilling to do so. Thousands of Arizona's estimated 400,000 illegal immigrants—including not just children but men and women under 30—are now assured immunity from en­forcement, and will be able to compete openly with Ari­zona citizens for employment. 

"Must Arizona's ability to protect its borders yield to the reality that Congress has provided inadequate funding for federal enforcement—or, even worse, to the executive's unwise targeting of that funding?" Scalia asked. Later, he added: "What I do fear—and what Arizona and the States that support it fear—is that 'federal policies' of nonen­forcement will leave the States helpless before those evil effects of illegal immigration."

The federal government "does not want to enforce the immigration laws as written, and leaves the States' borders unprotected against immigrants whom those laws would exclude," Scalia alleged.

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