Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) appeared to suggest over the weekend that spending money on border security was like rejecting Jewish refugees during the Holocaust.
Booker made the comments in Iowa while appearing on the Political Party Live podcast on Saturday where he spoke on a wide variety of issues.
“Do you know how much billions of dollars we’ve done to increase the numbers of Customs and Border Patrol agents, of people involved in immigration…” Booker began.
Booker continued by saying that it was important to know history and that President Donald Trump was trying to make people afraid of people coming across the southern border who have “brown skin.”
“As much as he wants to make us afraid of people trying to come here escaping terror, not remembering like when we turned around other immigrants trying to escape terror,” Booker continued. “There was a ship that came here during World War II with a bunch of folks trying to escape the Holocaust and we turned it around where they got killed in the Holocaust.”
While Booker’s comparison might be wildly inaccurate, his historical claims are accurate as former Democrat President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and his administration rejected thousands of Jewish refugees during the Holocaust.
“In the summer of 1942, the SS Drottningholm set sail carrying hundreds of desperate Jewish refugees, en route to New York City from Sweden,” Smithsonian Magazine reported. “Among them was Herbert Karl Friedrich Bahr, a 28-year-old from Germany, who was also seeking entry to the United States. When he arrived, he told the same story as his fellow passengers: As a victim of persecution, he wanted asylum from Nazi violence.”
“But during a meticulous interview process that involved five separate government agencies, Bahr’s story began to unravel. Days later, the FBI accused Bahr of being a Nazi spy,” Smithsonian Magazine continued. “What Bahr didn’t know, or perhaps didn’t mind, was that his story would be used as an excuse to deny visas to thousands of Jews fleeing the horrors of the Nazi regime.”
The article goes on to state that Roosevelt repeatedly promoted unproven claims that Jewish refugees had been coerced into spying for Nazi Germany.
Later in the war, government whistleblowers spoke out against what Roosevelt’s administration was doing, and, in 1944, the Treasury Department released a damning report by lawyer Randolph Pau, which in part stated:
I am convinced on the basis of the information which is available to me that certain officials in our State Department, which is charged with carrying out this policy, have been guilty not only of gross procrastination and willful failure to act, but even of willful attempts to prevent action from being taken to rescue Jews from Hitler.