Categories Op/Ed

Editorial: Mr. Smucker Should Condemn Immoral Acts of Government


Is this really the best our congressman can do?

Rep. Lloyd Smucker broke his silence on Monday, June 18, and finally had something to say about the crisis on our southern border. It came in the form of a posting on social media.

“Reading reports of what’s happening at our border and evaluating current policy, you can’t help but have an emotional response,” Mr. Smucker wrote.

“Like all of us, and as a father, I believe families should remain together whenever possible,” he continued. “But our immigration system is broken, and currently allows for families to be separated. Congress should address this issue, and the first step is having all the facts. That’s why I’m contacting Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen to get more information from her about how Congress can prevent separating families while ensuring a strong and secure border.”

And that is all Mr. Smucker had to say on the subject. It is truly a profile in cowardice.

Other Republicans have said more, and in some cases, done more. Former first lady Laura Bush wrote in The Washington Post, “I live in a border state. I appreciate the need to enforce and protect our international boundaries, but this zero-tolerance policy is cruel. It is immoral. And it breaks my heart.”

Mrs. Bush is right. This is immoral. And it is especially so because a great many of the migrants have broken no law. It is perfectly legal to show up at a U.S. port of entry and request asylum, and that is what a great many have done. But with the ineptitude and inefficiency of the border crossings, some have resorted to sneaking over. Yes, this is a misdemeanor. But we do not tear American children from their parents when the parents are caught shoplifting or driving under the influence. This cruel practice is not required by any law — and even if it were, attempts to blame Democrats make no sense, since Republicans control Congress and could pass a new law without Democrats’ cooperation if they wanted.

The treatment of migrants was far from perfect under the last president. But things have gotten dramatically worse now that the current administration has decided to violate the conscience of any decent person.

And thankfully, Mrs. Bush is far from the only Republican to object to this. To cite just two examples, Republican Govs. Larry Hogan of Maryland and Charlie Baker of Massachusetts ordered their states’ National Guard troops to stop aiding in border protection as long as this policy is in place.

But not Mr. Smucker. All he would say he would do is get more information. But he has chosen about the worst possible source — the very Cabinet secretary who had no answer when a reporter asked her that day why all the government-released videos of migrant children were of boys. Where are the girls? Where are the toddlers? Ms. Nielsen responded, “I don’t know what pictures you’re speaking about,” even though the pictures in question had been all over national television.

If Mr. Smucker cannot recognize the immorality of our government’s current actions, he is morally bankrupt.

The preceding editorial is the opinion of The Elizabethtown Advocate. Other opinions on this page are those of individual contributors. The Advocate aims to give its readers a wide variety of opinions.

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