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I don't like movies or novels about Nazis.  They continue to be popular, because, let's face it, they were seriously bad dudes, so they make terrific baddies to overcome.  Dramatically they were made for storytellers.  But, to me, they aren't part of fictional stories because they were real.  I know people who lost close family members and friends in the Nazi purge.  Laying claim to millions of murders is not good by any measure.

So I am disturbed by the popularity of comparing President Trump to Nazis.  It is hard for almost everybody to resist hyperbole when trying to make a point, especially a political point in these turbulent times.  I wish they would resist it -- there is so much hype in today's news that it's almost impossible to know what's real any more.  This problem of separating children from their illegal immigrant parents begs the comparison, however.

Taking children away from parents and putting them in detention camps... what sort of comparison does the White House realistically expect people to draw?  The most famous example of this behavior is Nazis.  When the Nazis told families they were sending children to the showers to rid them of lice (and adults, as well), they neglected to mention that their families would never see them again because poisonous gas isn't water and soap.  Not that their parents lived that long either.

Star Trek actor and Internet personality George Takei, who was confined as a child in a US internment camp for Japanese Americans during World War II, wrote in an op ed, "At least during the internment of Japanese-Americans, I and other children were not stripped from our parents,” Takei wrote. “We were not pulled screaming from our mothers’ arms. We were not left to change the diapers of younger children by ourselves."

So, yeah, the US isn't gassing these children, but the parallel to Germany is hard not to make.

The famous Trump quote that has been repeated over and over is, "We have people coming into the country, or trying to come in — we're stopping a lot of them.  You wouldn't believe how bad these people are. These aren't people, these are animals, and we're taking them out of the country at a level and at a rate that's never happened before."

Arguably they are people, although some may be bad people.  But they're not animals.  Their children are not animals.  I think a cursory doctor's examination could easily establish that.  Or just looking at them.

One of the things people opposed to this policy gloss over is that the parents are in this country illegally.  There are ways to come here legally, and the diversity that we all celebrate that really does make America great comes from legal immigrants who respect our laws and did what it took to move here and become citizens.  One of my favorite press emails comes from Tompkins County Clerk Maureen  Reynolds inviting the press to attend naturalization ceremony (many of which I can't make, but I do love covering them when I can).

Coming here illegally is so glossed over these days, but the fact is that these folks' very first act when they come here is a crime.  They may be nice people.  They may have families.  They may have dreams.  They may take jobs that citizens don't want, but illegally entering a country is... well, illegal.

Even still, that is not crime enough to take their children away.  These camps are not summer camps with canoeing and capture the flag.  They are lousy places to put kids, if only because it's not with their parents.  Even if these kids are American citizens... well, who does that to children?  Who does that to Americans?

I am not usually a fan of our Governor, but I believe he is right to sue the federal government over this policy.  Laws are supposed to matter, and here the government is accusing people of breaking the law on the one hand, then stripping them of legal rights on the other.  Two wrongs apparently make a right in Washington.

"I worked in the federal government for eight years, I'm Governor of the State of New York," Governor Cuomo said Tuesday in response to children being detained on Long Island. "I'm accustomed to all types of legislative negotiations. I've never seen children being used as a bargaining chip in this kind of negotiation. The estimate is that 2,000 children are being held. Some of those children are being held in facilities in the State of New York. These are private facilities that provide services to children and the federal government has contracted with a number of facilities in New York and placed children in those facilities. They're doing it under what's called the UAC program, the Unaccompanied Alien Child program. But these are not unaccompanied alien children. These are children who were separated from their parents. We know that there are over 70 children currently in New York facilities. Now there's been a lot of talk about the morality of this practice. But we also believe that this practice is illegal and we are intending to bring suit against the federal government on a legal course of action that is grounded in three theories."

The current administration in Washington does seem to be a lot about taking stuff away from people who most need that stuff.  But children aren't stuff.  They belong with their parents unless their parents are dead or dangerous to them.  Any parent will tell you this.  Kids will, too.

So... immoral and illegal.  And a really nasty experience for little kids.  Draw what comparisons you will.

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