A very prominent evangelical leader has issued a rare rebuke to President Donald Trump and has severely criticized the actions of his administration.
Franklin Graham, the son of famous evangelist Billy Graham, has been one of Trump’s strongest supporters since he announced he was running for president.
But now he has come out strongly against an administration policy which has been separating children from their parents at the US-Mexican border, calling it “disgraceful.”
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“Nearly 1,800 immigrant families were separated at the U.S.-Mexico border from October 2016 through February of this year, according to a senior government official, as President Donald Trump implemented stricter border enforcement policies.”
While Graham has joined the growing chorus of those critical of this policy he said the blame lies elsewhere, with policies put in place by earlier administrations.
Appearing on CBN News yesterday Graham said:
“First of all, I think it’s disgraceful. It’s terrible to see families ripped apart and I don’t support that one bit. And I blame the politicians for the last 20, 30 years that have allowed this to escalate to the point where it is today. We are a country of laws; laws need to be obeyed, no question about that. But the situation that we have today is a result of our lawmakers in Washington over generations ignoring this and I’m hopeful that soon something could be done to fix it.”
Trump’s attorney general Jeff Sessions last month began a new ‘zero tolerance’ policy to deal with people captured while entering the US illegally. Under Sessions’ new policy, people who are caught at the border will be charged with crimes, and children will be separated from their parents.
US Catholic bishops have also become very vocal in their criticisms of the new policies. ‘The latest developments are consistent with the sort of cardiosclerosis that has begun in our country, and it concerns across-the-board life issues,’ said Cardinal Joseph Tobin of New Jersey. He said many bishops will be traveling to the border to protest and “as a sign of our pastoral concern and protest against this hardening of the American heart.”
Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, president of the US conference of Catholic bishops, issued the following statement:
“At its core, asylum is an instrument to preserve the right to life. The Attorney General’s recent decision elicits deep concern because it potentially strips asylum from many women who lack adequate protection. These vulnerable women will now face return to the extreme dangers of domestic violence in their home country.”
“Families are the foundational element of our society and they must be able to stay together. While protecting our borders is important, we can and must do better as a government, and as a society, to find other ways to ensure that safety. Separating babies from their mothers is not the answer and is immoral.”
Earlier this month we reported that the United Nations had called on the Trump administration to “immediately halt” its policy of separating children from their parents at the U.S. border with Mexico.
In May, we reported that President Trump was blaming Democrats for his policy of separating children from parents at the border.
At that time Trump tweeted:
“Put pressure on the Democrats to end the horrible law that separates children from there parents once they cross the Border into the U.S. Catch and Release, Lottery and Chain must also go with it and we MUST continue building the WALL! DEMOCRATS ARE PROTECTING MS-13 THUGS.”
Then in early June Trump tweeted:
“Separating families at the Border is the fault of bad legislation passed by the Democrats. Border Security laws should be changed but the Dems can’t get their act together! Started the Wall.”
With Trump and Sessions now being criticized by Catholic bishops and prominent evangelical leaders, and with very few people believing that the Democrats are at fault for the current policies, it is possible that these cruel policies will be changed. If not, children will continue to suffer. If that happens all we can hope for is that Republicans will pay the price politically, and we will get new leadership in Washington.
I am a lifelong Democrat with a passion for social justice and progressive issues. I have degrees in writing, economics and law from the University of Iowa.
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