First a disclaimer: The USA Today editorial board does not agree with FAIR on immigration policies, and that’s okay. Nowadays, people are far too quick to demonize those who hold opinions that are different from their own. FAIR respects the right of people or editorial boards to be wrong.
Second, USA Today’s editorial board frequently invites FAIR to provide an opposing viewpoint when they run editorials on immigration matters, as they did in the January 24 edition of the paper. We appreciate that.
The point-counterpoint in the January 24 edition centered on an individual illegal alien whose story was recounted in a lengthy New Yorker article. A woman, identified only as Laura S., had come to the United States to get away from an abusive ex-husband. She was eventually deported back to Mexico. Tragically – and no one discounts the fact that it was a tragedy – Laura S. was killed by her ex.
FAIR contends that it was a consequence of Mexico’s callous neglect of its own citizens and its corrupt and failed justice system, and that the United States cannot reasonably be expected to provide protection to everyone in a dysfunctional personal relationship who lives in a country with a failed justice system.
USA Today argues that Laura’s death was a consequence of our decision to deport her – a weak argument, in our opinion, but not inherently objectionable. But then, their editorial veered from mere flawed logic to hyperbole. “Some argue that country-of-origin authorities — and not the United States — bear responsibility for these lost lives. Tell that to the hundreds of thousands of Jewish asylum seekers, turned away by America during the 1930s and 1940s, who perished in Nazi concentration camps,” states the editorial.
Comparisons to the Holocaust are bandied about all too casually and this is no exception. European Jews who were seeking asylum in the United States in the 1930s and 1940s were victims of religiously-motivated political persecution at the hands of an evil regime in Germany. By the 1940s, the political persecution had morphed into the largest genocide the world has ever witnessed. There is no valid analogy between a genocidal regime and an abusive spouse who could have been dealt with if the Mexican justice system had actually given a damn.
While it is impossible to entirely exclude emotions from political debates, it is all too easy to exclude ration. Whatever the issue, we would all do well to distinguish between opinions with which we disagree and those that are legitimately reprehensible. Likewise, no matter how passionately we feel about a particular issue, we would be wise to avoid mindless hyperbole in making our case.