This Holocaust Survivor Attended an ICE Forum and Delivered the Night’s Most Important Message

Lead Photo: Photo Stephen Lam
Photo Stephen Lam
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Town hall meetings have become another tool for constituents to resist President Donald Trump. Across the country, voters are putting pressure on their elected officials to stand up against Trump and his policies. As a result, many politicians have found themselves on the receiving end of pointed criticism. So when Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones and US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Acting Director Thomas Homan held a public forum on Tuesday in California’s capital, it wasn’t surprising that attendees booed and interrupted them as they tried to bring clarity on the relationship between federal and local officials when enforcing immigration laws. The more than one-hour forum allowed many to voice their opinions. But the most important message in the room came from Holocaust survivor Bernard Marks.

“When I was a little boy in Poland, for no other reason but for being Jewish, I was hauled up by the Nazis,” the 84 year old said. “And for no other reason, I was picked up and separated from my family, who was exterminated in Auschwitz. And I am a survivor of Auschwitz and Dachau. I spent five and a half years in concentration campus, for one reason, and one reason only, because we picked on people. And you, as the sheriff, who we elected as sheriff of this county, we did not elect you to sheriff of Washington, DC. It’s about time you side with the people here.”

“And when [Thomas Homan] stands up there and says he doesn’t go after people, he should read today’s [Sacramento Bee]. Because in today’s Bee, the Supreme Court Justice of the State of California objected to ICE coming in and taking people away from the courts. Don’t tell me that this is a lie. We stand up here, Mr. Jones, don’t forget. History is not on your side.”

Marks received thunderous applause and a standing ovation. Homan tried to refute Marks’s message by stating that ICE doesn’t go after victims but after criminals, adding that the department is systematically looking for people. But as the case of Daniel Ramírez – a DACA recipient detained by ICE after agents showed up to his house to arrest his father – demonstrates, this isn’t true. As Homan, who had to pause several times amid the booing, tried to get his message across, it became clear that Marks’ words resonated with the crowd.

h/t Washington Post