Jewish protesters block entrance to Trump administration's 'concentration camps' for migrants

‘As Jews, neither our history nor our values will allow us to sit idly by while our neighbours are separated from their families and locked in camps’

Emma Snaith
Monday 01 July 2019 16:41
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Jewish people block entrance to Trump administration's 'concentration camps' for migrants

More than 30 Jewish protesters were arrested outside a US detention centre holding undocumented migrants, which they likened to a “concentration camp”.

Those arrested were among hundreds of protesters, mostly young people, who gathered outside the Elizabeth Detention Centre in New Jersey on Sunday to demand the government “close the camps”.

The protesters held signs reading “Never again means close the camps” and chanted: “Hey hey, ho ho, racist ICE has got to go,” as they blocked the road leading to the centre.

It comes after Donald Trump promised to begin deporting “millions” of people living in the US illegally. Writing on Twitter last week, he said the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) would begin removals this week.

Mr Trump campaigned heavily on immigration during his 2016 presidential bid, and is expected to use similar tactics to fire up support among his base ahead of next year’s election.

Never Again Action, the group that organised the protest, wrote on Facebook: “As Jews, neither our history nor our values will allow us to sit idly by while our neighbours are separated from their families and locked in camps.

“And we know that. We must come together as Jews to fight back against ICE and CBP [Customs and Border Protection] as they commit these atrocities. We can't wait a moment longer. #NeverAgainIsNow.”

Tae Phoenix, one of those who took part in the protest, said: “I’m a Jewish Latina. The military camps where my people are being held today are concentration camps; just like the camps my people were held in 75 years ago were concentration camps.

Hundreds of people blocked the entrance to the Elizabeth Detention Centre in New Jersey

“That’s why I’m here. That’s why we’re here.”

The Elizabeth Police Department told Newsweek that more than 30 people were arrested during the group’s protest outside the detention centre.

Democratic congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez tweeted in support of the protest.

“Direct actions of profound solidarity, just like these, hold enormous power to change our country,” she wrote.

The name of the group that organised the protest comes from the slogan “Never again”, which has historically been used to commemorate the Holocaust.

Further actions are being planned in cities across the US, including Los Angeles, San Francisco, Boston, and Chicago.

Some Jewish groups have compared ICE’s treatment of undocumented immigrants to abuses under the Nazis and other totalitarian regimes. Others have argued that comparisons of ICE to Nazi Germany and the Holocaust are inappropriate.

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In recent weeks, reports have surfaced of migrants being held in cages of chain-link fencing, sleeping on concrete and covered with blankets made of aluminium foil, at migrant detention centres at the US-Mexico border.

On Monday, hundreds of migrant children were transferred out of a filthy US Border Patrol station in Texas where they had been detained for weeks without access to soap, clean clothes or adequate food.

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