I regularly read the blog World War II Today. It follows the events of that war on each day 75 years ago. The posting for June 7, 1943, which I read just before midnight on the 7th was entitled “Nazis Consider Sterilising Jewish Women Workforce.” If you can, put aside for a moment the particular horror of forced sterilization. It is obvious from the posting that these women were slaves. As the post states:
There was now more discrimination in how Jewish prisoners were dealt with. The extermination ‘camps’ such as Sobibor, which were designed to kill everyone who entered them, continued to operate until late in 1943. Other facilities, such as Auschwitz, were dividing prisoners into those fit to work and those to be killed immediately.
Suppose that, after the war, these individuals found their way to this country. Does anyone reasonably believe that they would be deported because they had provided “material support” for the Nazis? Well, apparently at least two members of the Executive Office for Immigration Review of the Board of Immigration Appeals believe something similar to that.
On June 6, the 74th anniversary of D-Day, in the case of Matter of A-C-M-, they found that:
The respondent afforded material support to the guerillas [sic] in El Salvador in 1990 because the forced labor she provided in the form of cooking, cleaning, and washing their clothes aided them in continuing their mission of armed and violent opposition to the Salvadoran Government.
At the hearing level:
The Immigration Judge stated that, but for the material support bar, she would have granted the respondent’s asylum application on humanitarian grounds. . . . noting the horrific harm she experienced from the guerrillas in El Salvador because, in addition to being kidnapped and required to perform cooking and cleaning for the guerrillas under threat of death, the respondent was forced to witness her husband, a sergeant in the Salvadoran Army, dig his own grave before being killed.
The majority found, however, that humanitarian considerations did not apply in this case due to the “material support” bar. They vacated and remanded for further proceedings to determine whether the respondent would be allowed to immigrate on the narrower ground that she faced the continuing possibility of torture.
The dissenting judge dissented only because he concluded that:
[T]he menial and incidental tasks that the respondent performed—as a slave—for Salvadoran guerrillas, including cooking, cleaning, and washing clothes, are of “the same class” as the enumerated forms of assistance set forth in the statute.
Let’s go back to the case of the Nazi slave laborers. We know, for instance, that slave labor was used at Mittelwerk, German World War II factory built underground to avoid Allied bombing that produced V-2 ballistic missiles, V-1 flying bombs, and other weapons. Under even the dissent’s formulation, slave laborers at this factory would be barred from immigration to the U.S. because their tasks there were not “menial and incidental.” And, of course, post-VE Day, the Holocaust immigrants would not have faced the ongoing possibility of Nazi torture.
(H/T to Jason Nitsios, a paralegal in Towson who called my attention to the immigration ruling.)
This evening I also came across this “Landscape with the Fall of Icarus” now seen as a good early copy of Bruegel the Elder’s original. You will note the plowman who is so intent on his daily work that he doesn’t notice the travails of Icarus.