Editorial: Rebuke of Trump’s cruel immigration policy sends message about our values
July 15, 2018
The 12th paragraph says it all.
"Summit County believes in the words of Emma Lazarus, etched on a plaque at the Statue of Liberty, Mother of Exiles, 'Give me your tired, your poor… Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free… Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me…'"
That's from a resolution the Summit County Council passed on Wednesday rebuking the Trump administration for its zero-tolerance immigration policy that separated families at the U.S.-Mexico border.
Doubtless, it struck some odd that Summit County's elected officials decided to wade into a contentious matter of national politics when there are many pressing local issues that demand attention.
The argument in favor of the Council's action, though, is simple: Speaking out is the right thing to do.
We applaud the officials for addressing what has become a defining moment of Donald Trump's presidency and something that will torment the conscience of compassionate Americans for years to come.
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The stories that have come from the border are haunting. Children torn from parents. People seeking asylum from violence in their home countries rebuffed. The American government, in short, turning its back on the ideals that make our country exceptional.
Trump, bowing to public outcry, signed an executive order to halt the practice of separating families, but thousands of children remain without their parents. And the administration has vowed to push forward with its xenophobic stance on immigration, fueled by lies about the supposed dangers undocumented people present.
The situation echoes Japanese-American internment during World War II, and it's hard to fathom that we're watching it happen in 21st-century America. The stain won't wash away. The County Council in the resolution correctly classified the government's actions as a threat to "the moral core of our nation."
Given that, our response defines our values as a community, even though the border can seem like a world away from the mountains of Summit County. It's critical for our elected leaders to take up the cause and state with conviction that we won't stand for what's happening.
It's also important to send a message to the Latino members of our community. Trump kicked off his presidential campaign by calling people who look like them criminals and rapists, and the situation at the border proves his inflammatory campaign rhetoric has translated into policy.
In Summit County, though, we embrace our Latino neighbors, including the ones who were not born in America. As the resolution puts it, we believe "that families, including immigrant families, are a core and vital building block of the community."
Trump and his administration fail to understand that it's that — compassion for other people, even if their story is different from your own — that makes us strong.
So thank you, County Council, for telling them.
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