Within the United States, there’s been little discussion on any topic other than what we should do with children of parents who have been seeking amnesty in the United States.  And conservatives are increasingly joining liberals in opposing the decision to isolate the kids of parents seeking amnesty in the United States.

A Quinnipiac University poll taken on June 14-17, 2018 finds that two-thirds of Americans oppose this new policy of prosecuting parents immediately, separating children from their parents, and locking them in detention facilities.  While 91 percent of Democrats and 68 percent of Independents oppose this measure, Republicans are a little more evenly split, with just a little more than half supporting the president’s policy.  GOP voters are the most likely to be “unsure,” however, and they should hear what their leaders are saying about the policy.

South Texas Border - U.S. Customs and Border Protection provide assistance to unaccompanied alien children after they have crossed the border into the United States. Photo provided by: Eddie PerezConservative talk show host Hugh Hewitt is the latest to break with the Trump Administration on this issue, joining evangelical leader Samuel Rodriguez, according to the Christian Broadcast Network.  Conservative Weekly Standard Editor Bill Kristol joined in the criticism of the policy, as did Jeb Bush and Laura Bush.  And Conservative speaker Ben Shapiro said “Congress can fix this separation policy easily. All they have to do is pass a law clarifying that those held for asylum proceedings may be held with their children in a common facility, than [sic] fund it.”

South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham and Tennessee Senator Lamar Alexander, both Republicans, said that President Trump could change the policy with a five minute phone call.  Senator Orrin Hatch sent a letter to the Justice Department calling for this policy to be ended.  They know that there’s no “Democrat Bill” that’s out there which ties the President’s hands (there was a bipartisan bill passed in 2008 before Obama became president, which doesn’t cover this treatment) which needs to be repealed.  There’s also no “court case” that forces the Trump Administration to lock up kids in detention facilities in cities far from where their parents are being incarcerated.  That court case simply says you cannot detain a family indefinitely.  There’s no 1997 ruling that mandates this behavior.

Not willing to be a party to this, Republican Governors from Maryland and Massachusetts are withdrawing their National Guard units that have been assisting with border control, or are refusing to deploy them.  Kansas GOP Congressman Kevin Yoder, one of the most conservative members of Congress, tweeted “As the son of a social worker, I know the human trauma that comes with children being separated from their parents. It takes a lasting, and sometimes even irreversible toll on the child’s well-being.”  He’s joined by fellow GOP members, Marco Rubio, Rick Scott, and Mario Diaz-Balart from Florida.  Senator Ted Cruz from Texas is there too.

These are just a few of the GOP elected officials, conservative commentators, and church leaders who have denounced this policy, noting that it would take a short phone call to fix, without any Congressional, court or legal hurdles.  So if you’re a Republican and this just doesn’t sound American to you, it is okay.  You can take a stand against it too, and not abandon your ideology.

In fact, it’s not a bad idea to occasionally take a stand against the president of your own party.  Elected officials don’t walk on water, and we shouldn’t treat them like deities.  Liberals criticized Obama for his drone strike policy, his support of Israel, his reliance on the private sector to fix the Deepwater Horizon spill, for not supporting a single-payer health care system, and even his immigration policy that detained people at the border.  Conservatives should also take a moral stand against their president when he’s got a bad idea too.

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Image: CBP Processing Unaccompanied Children by Eddie Perez (Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain).
John A. Tures

John A. Tures

John A. Tures is an Associate Professor of Political Science at LaGrange College in Georgia.  He writes about international politics, elections, sports, and the War of 1812.