Patrick Leahy Cites Holocaust Victims in Plea to Embrace Unaccompanied Minors

In a speech urging his Senate colleagues to accept the thousands of unaccompanied minors crossing the border, Sen. Patrick Leahy reminded his colleagues of a time when the United States turned back Jews fleeing the Holocaust.

“I also remind people of a time in the past around World War II where this country unwisely closed its borders to people who were fleeing the Holocaust in Germany,” Leahy said. “They came here, they were turned back, sent back, many of them to certain death in the death camps. That was a sorry part of our history.”

Leahy urged Senators to move quickly to accept the unaccompanied minors from Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador as political refugees who were “forcibly displaced and have claims to international protection.”

Leahy criticized Republicans for using the crisis to “promote fear” and an “enforcement only agenda.”

He explained that the rush of minors crossing the border were immigrants seeking out American law enforcement officials for protection, not trying to avoid the law.

“If they see somebody in uniform, they run to them,” Leahy insisted. “They think finally they are escaping the gangs and the murderers and the rapists and they suddenly feel safe because they see an American in uniform.”

Leahy reminded the Senate that the "world was watching" to see if America still stood up for the oppressed and persecuted. 

"I know one person who's spoken on it: Pope Francis. He's urged us to protect these children," Leahy said. "I think the Pope is right. We have a choice." 


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