On his first day on the job, newly sworn in Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson made the awful mistake of comparing immigrants and slaves.
It was a significant and disappointing gaffe, one that surprised me and, no doubt, many others who think of Carson as the gentlemanly soul of moderation and common sense. There is not, and can never be, any legitimate comparison between slaves on the one hand, torn from home and family, sold into bondage, and moved by Europeans to work in their plantations in the New World; and, on the other, migrants who choose their fate by "voting with their feet" and opt for another life in another country to better their circumstances, albeit often illegally.
The liberal media (the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Buzzfeed, Hollywood Reporter and others) reliably leaped into action to cover the remarks with their usual glee. There immediately followed a scrum of condemnation from movie stars such as Samuel L. Jackson and the NAACP. Even the Anne Frank Center got into action calling the remarks "as offensive a remark as it gets."
The thing is, though, that the comparison, as inapt and inept as it certainly is, is often made by immigrant advocacy groups, supporters of open borders, and even black progressives from time to time. Doing so is frequently a conscious effort to hitch the "illegal immigration is benign" wagon onto the civil rights train.
Example: Maria Hinojosa, a National Public Radio host who wears her alien advocacy on her sleeve in the same uncritical way that Jorge Ramos of Univision does, made the comparison when making the unverified and unverifiable claim in regard to aliens in Flint, Mich., during the tainted water crisis there. Her guest for the day, Melissa Harris-Perry, carried the stupid analogy even further by comparing immigration laws with "fugitive slave laws".
Example: CNN, which was among those to highlight Carson's unfortunate analogy, nonetheless recently aired a highly sympathetic piece on churches and individuals who go so far over the law as to shield and harbor illegal aliens as part of what it chose to describe as a modern-day "underground railroad", a vicarious comparison that is also designed to make the not-so-subtle comparison between the tidal wave of illegal immigration in today's America with the odious holding of slaves and their desperate flights to freedom.
Example: Just a few days ago, Amanda Erickson, a columnist for the Washington Post, compared an office for victims of alien crime established by president Trump to something the Nazis would do. It was a scurrilous comparison.
That CNN unwittingly exposes its own hypocrisy is no surprise; they are a network with neither shame nor historical memory.
But where were the howls of outrage from Hollywood stars over Hinojosa and Harris-Perry's conversations? There were none.
I also recall no reaction from leaders of the African American or civil rights communities about Hinojosa's and Harris-Perry's remarks.
And where was the condemnation from the Anne Frank Center or other groups, to blast the over-the-top remarks from Erickson that trivialize the horrors of the Holocaust through banal comparisons with the Washington bureaucracy that not only don't stand the light of day, they don't even hold up in twilight.
All things considered, the silence in the face of these other gaffes is suspicious. Is it because Carson is a Black Republican, and African-Americans aren't allowed by the progressive thought police to be conservative? Is that why only his remarks get singled out when so many others have made the same kind of inappropriate comparisons? I can't help but wonder.
Dan Cadman is a retired INS / ICE official with thirty years of government experience. Mr. Cadman served as a senior supervisor and manager at headquarters, as well as at field offices both domestically and abroad.
Editor's Note: This piece was originally published by the Center for Immigration Studies.