House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, in a speech Saturday, compared the current immigration debate in the United States to the experience Jews have had for millenniums.
"As a people for thousands and thousands of years, [we] didn’t belong anywhere," Cantor said of his Jewish brethren, speaking at a Jewish center in New York City. "We didn’t have a homeland — a couple of thousands of years exiled from the land of the Israel," Breitbart reports
That instilled a sense of longing to belong somewhere, he said. And the United States answered the call.
"This country was the first country, . . . always there with a helping hand," Cantor said. "This country, and first by President George Washington, took a stand to say the Jews will be welcomed as citizens, full citizens, equal citizens of this country.”
Cantor cited Washington’s letter to the Hebrew Congregation of Newport, R.I., the country's oldest synagogue. Washington told the synagogue members, in Cantor's words, "The U.S. government [would] provide no support for bigotry or assistance to persecution. Essentially, that does put a marker down about what our country is about."
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