Rep. John Curtis is right. The practice of government agents tearing children literally from the arms of their parents as their families seek asylum from failed states in Central America is “abhorrent.”
But he and the rest of the Utah delegation are wrong if they throw up their hands and say there will be no end to the disgraceful practice until Congress finally does something it hasn’t been able to do for years — pass a comprehensive immigration reform bill.
Reports of upwards of 1,400 children taken away from their parents at the border should do nothing but sicken good people everywhere, no matter what they think about immigration, asylum and the Dreamers. Curtis and the rest of the members of Congress from Utah — all Republican — have rightly expressed their objection.
But those statements are worthless unless they, and other members of Congress, are willing to find and take a more immediate action than lamenting their own failure to put a new immigration regimen in place.
They failure of Congress, particularly the members of the party that also controls the executive branch, to demand — even legislate — an end to this crime against humanity because they haven’t yet reached agreement on a permanent solution to the large and complex immigration controversy is like refusing to put out a fire in the kitchen until they have a firm plan for remodeling the whole house.
The people in question are not random migrants sneaking across the border. They certainly aren’t drug dealers. They are families who were trying to claim their right under American and international law — and common decency — to seek asylum in the arms of a generous, multiethnic nation that built itself on the sweat and brains of refugees from all over the world.
But, having traveled sometimes thousands of miles with the American dream in their hearts, they are not turned away at the border, but arrested, split up and not told when, or if, they might see their children or their parents again.
Children are beside themselves with fear and sadness. Parents are stricken. At least one father killed himself.
Abhorrent it is. And every person, party or other institution — including The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints — that has or seeks any influence over our culture must use that influence to change what is happening.
One sliver of hope in this matter has been the bidding war between Utah 4th District Rep. Mia Love and her Democratic challenger, Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams. In recent days each campaign has accused the other of not being forceful or effective enough on this issue and the related question of saving the beneficiaries of DACA — people who were brought illegally to the United States when they were children.
The question of which of them might do the most to finally create a sane and humane immigration structure is high on the list of measures district voters should use to make their choice come November.
But ending the dreadful treatment of families at our border should be achieved long before that. And voters should be wary of any incumbent who brags about his or her clout in Washington if this basic act of decency doesn’t get done.