During the 1930s and early 1940s, the United States resisted accepting large numbers of Jewish refugees escaping the Nazi terror sweeping Europe, in large part because of fearmongering by a small but vocal crowd.
They claimed that the refugees were communist or anarchist infiltrators intent on spreading revolution; that refugees were part of a global Jewish-capitalist conspiracy to take control of the United States from the inside; that the refugees were either Nazis in disguise or under the influence of Nazi agents sent to commit acts of sabotage; and that Jewish refugees were out to steal American jobs.
Many rejected Jews simply because they weren’t Christian.
In recent days, similar arguments are being resurrected to reject Syrian refugees fleeing sectarian terrorists and civil war.
From talk radio to the blogosphere to leading American politicians, anti-Syrian rhetoric claims that refugees are simply ISIS infiltrators; that migrants are Muslim invaders seeking to establish a “global caliphate” and impose Sharia law on America; and that Syrian refugees are lying about escaping violence and are focused instead on abusing the American welfare system.