Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA) took to Twitter on Thursday and compared U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents to Nazis at Auschwitz — using photographs from 2014.
“CBP takes away rosaries, shoes, wallets, and toothbrushes from detained immigrants; what they call ‘non-essential’ personal property. The images in these photos shockingly resemble the shoes collected from Auschwitz – and it’s revolting and chilling,’ Speier tweeted.
The photos of migrants’ belongings, taken in 2014, were published in the New Yorker in 2017. They were created by a former CBP custodian in Arizona, Tom Kiefer, “after more than a decade working with C.B.P., and after seven years of sneaking out the trash.”
The New Yorker reported that Kiefer collected, and took home what was officially government property. He then started arranging and photographing the objects:
Today, he has taken hundreds of photographs of objects he brought home from the processing center. Together they make up “El Sueño Americano” (“The American Dream”), an ongoing project that, thanks to its unconventional perspective on U.S. migrant policies, has launched Kiefer into a photography career he’s dreamed of for decades.
Rep. Speier, whose district includes part of San Francisco, reportedly had a grandfather who was a Jewish refugee from Nazi Germany. However, she omits two crucial distinctions between the two situations. First, the Jews who were rounded up by the Nazis had not crossed a border illegally or violated any other legitimate law. Second, the Jews were murdered, sometimes after being used as slave laborers.
The confiscation of “non-essential” items has nothing to do with President Donald Trump or his policies. As the New Yorker article makes clear, it has been a standard part of CBP procedure in handling those detained by Border Patrol for entering the country illegally.
Democrat attorney and former Harvard Law School professor Alan Dershowitz said Monday that comparing the Trump administration’s policies to Auschwitz — as former CIA director Michael Hayden had done — was a form of “Holocaust denial.”
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