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Tue Jul 23, 2019, 03:13 AM

The 1930s were a dark period for immigration policies. There's one way today's could be worse.

Source: Washington Post

The 1930s were a dark period for immigration policies. There’s one way today’s could be worse.

By Catherine Rampell
July 22 at 7:49 PM

Eighty years ago last month, the S.S. St. Louis entered American waters.


The St. Louis sailed to Florida, coming so close to U.S. shores that passengers could see the lights of Miami, as one survivor noted in an oral history kept by the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. Passengers cabled President Franklin D. Roosevelt to ask for refuge but never heard back.

America — where similar nativist and anti-Semitic rhetoric had infected the public — also turned the refugees away. The State Department directed desperate refugees to “await their turns on the waiting list and qualify for and obtain immigration visas before they may be admissible into the United States.”

The ship returned to Europe, where a handful of countries had agreed to take in the passengers. But many ultimately fell into German hands, and a quarter of the ship’s original manifest died during the Holocaust.

It’s hard not to think about such shameful episodes of U.S. history amid our current treatment of the huddled masses yearning to breathe free. Our rejection of innocents seeking refuge from persecution, based on excuses that they might become an economic burden or national security threat. Our disingenuous claims that people need only to follow the rules and get in line.


Read more: https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/the-1930s-was-a-dark-period-for-immigration-policies-theres-one-way-todays-could-be-worse/2019/07/22/a8d5f82a-acbc-11e9-a0c9-6d2d7818f3da_story.html

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