May we find our humanity

Dear Editor,

The recent caging of children, splitting, deporting, and imprisoning of families seeking asylum in the U.S., along with other, continuing, criminal atrocities committed by agents of Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) is reminiscent of the atrocities of Nazi Germany. In “Hitler’s American Model; The United States and the Making of Nazi Race Law” (Princeton Univ. Press, 2017), James Q. Whitman accounts for the U.S. influence on the formulation of Nazi race laws, policies, and practices.

Whitman had discovered a transcript from 1934 providing evidence that Nazi lawyers drew from “The Immigration Act of 1924” – signed into law by then president Calvin Coolidge of Vermont – conditioning entry to the United States on race-based criteria masked as “national origin.” Hitler praised this U.S. law in his autobiography, “Mein Kampf.” The Nazi Commission on Criminal Law Reform applied U.S. Jim Crow laws to the German Jewish population to formulate “The Nuremberg Laws.”

Following the continuum from the genocide of Native American peoples, enslavement of African peoples, to the “New Jim Crow” of the U.S. corporate prison industry – enslavement by another name – one has to wonder, who will be next?

May we find our humanity.

Sources: Vermont Eugenics: A Documentary History;; and “The New Jim Crow” by Michelle Alexander (The New Press, 2012).


Norman Emond

Charlestown, N.H.

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