Sen. Jeff Merkley quotes Anne Frank in criticism of US refugee policy
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Sen. Jeff Merkley quotes Anne Frank in criticism of US refugee policy

Oregon Democrat draws parallel between Washington policies and experiences of World War II asylum seekers

Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Oregon, May 7, 2015 (AP /Manuel Balce Ceneta, File)
Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Oregon, May 7, 2015 (AP /Manuel Balce Ceneta, File)

JTA — Sen. Jeff Merkley quoted Anne Frank extensively in a criticism of the Trump administration’s refugee policy.

The Oregon Democrat devoted 23 tweets to an excerpt from the Jewish teenager’s diary, written days before she was discovered in her Amsterdam hiding place by the Nazis and sent to her death in Bergen-Belsen.

On Thursday, Merkley shared the passage, which Frank wrote 75 years ago, in which she discusses two sides of her personality.

Merkley went on to draw a parallel between refugees during World War II and today.

“There are consequences to cruelty. There are consequences to dehumanization. There are consequences to institutionalized hatred and bigotry. There are consequences to ignoring the desperate pleas of children and families. Anne Frank was one of 11 million consequences,” he wrote.

The senator continued: “We say, ‘Never again,’ but history has proven those words to be hollow and fickle. At this very moment, our government is dehumanizing and mistreating refugee children and families fleeing horrific violence and persecution.”

The Trump administration has been lowering refugee limits since 2017. According to multiple news reports, Stephen Miller, the architect of US President Donald Trump’s immigration policies, may try to eliminate refugee admissions next year — no refugees would be allowed beyond the borders. There have also been reports in recent months of squalid conditions at migrant detention centers, including for children, on the southern border.

Current US refugee policies were created in large part as a response to the Holocaust, when the country denied the requests of many Jews seeking to settle here.

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