Tue, July 23

Editorial: Separating children from families proves America’s moral compass askew

In an era of political divisiveness as wide as the Grand Canyon, there is one point on which many Democrats and Republicans alike agree. The current practice of separating children from their families to enforce U.S. immigration policies is morally wrong.

Over the past eight months, an average of 45 children every day are separated from parents who have been detained for attempting to enter the United States illegally. Almost 2,000 alone have been orphaned during the past six weeks.

Democrats blame President Trump. Trump claims Democrats can step up and work with the GOP if they want the law changed.

But both liberals and conservatives alike are squeamish when it comes to seeing crying children held in cages. In an opinion commentary in Sunday’s Washington Post, former First Lady Laura Bush pointedly asked, “Can we not, as a nation, find a kinder, more compassionate and more moral answer to this current crisis?” Closer to home, Arizona State Senator Bob Worsley announced he would not seek re-election because he has had it with GOP extremism. Worsley, a Republican, said, “Like separating kids on the border. We’ve got to wake up to what this extremism is doing to the tone and tenor of our politics.’’

Defenders of the practice say it comes with the territory for those who try and enter the United States illegally. Technically, they are right. It is against the law to enter the United States illegally. Those caught are supposed to be criminally prosecuted. When they are a parent, with children, trying to enter the United States illegally, having their children taken from them is a natural consequence.

But just because something is legal doesn’t make it right.

Consider this: Slavery used to be legal in the United States. A natural consequence of slave auctions was splitting up families. Children were removed from their parents. Wives and mothers were separated from their husbands and children. It was legal. It definitely wasn’t right.

Today, we’re still separating children from their parents and defending the practice under the banner of law. Our moral compass hasn’t shifted much in the past 150 years.