I was a stranger, and you welcomed me

Last weekend, we celebrated Father’s Day – a day to thank the dads across Delaware for all they do throughout the year. I was lucky enough to get to spend the day with two of my three sons, who have given me the best job I have ever had. 

But, this Father’s Day, I was also thinking of too many fathers and mothers, who had been separated from their children as a result of the Trump Administration’s heartbreaking policy taking migrant children away from their parents. 

I try to live my life by a few guiding principles. One of those principles is the Golden Rule – to treat others the way we would want to be treated. Another is the call to action that is put forth in Matthew 25 – “I was hungry and you gave me food; I was thirsty and you gave me drink; I was a stranger in your land and you welcomed me.” 

The Trump Administration’s policy is inconsistent with both.  

After 44 days of implementing this cruel policy that drew the ire of the world and needlessly inflicted trauma on thousands of children, President Trump finally reversed his own policy. But the fight is far from over.

The Trump Administration’s “solution” is now to detain families arriving at our borders indefinitely without due process. What’s more, we don’t know whether the children who have already been separated will be reunited with their families, and how families and children seeking asylum at our border will be treated going forward. 

I have called for the Judiciary and Finance Committees to hold immediate oversight hearings to ensure that the Trump Administration puts a plan in place and begins to execute it right away. And I won’t give up until we make certain that families are reunited.  

We also cannot let this administration continue to simply address the symptoms of our immigration challenges. If we fail to truly address the root causes of migration, we are complicit in the misery of those living in communities south of our border that are plagued by violence. 

I have traveled to the border, as well as to the Central American countries of Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador – known as the Northern Triangle – repeatedly in order to better understand the root causes of migration to our southern border. As Chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, I felt it was my responsibility to learn first-hand about the conditions that force so many migrants to flee for their safety and to meet with leaders of Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador to offer our assistance and partnership in fighting violence and poverty. 

I would strongly urge officials in this administration to do the same, in order to see for themselves what is often so difficult for us in the United States to even fathom. Those of us who are parents would do anything to keep our children safe — and until families in these countries are able to enjoy relative security and safety, they will continue to make the dangerous journey to our borders to seek a better life here.

The United States cannot solve the challenges facing other countries for them, but we also must not turn our backs on the neediest among us.

I call on the administration to redouble efforts to partner with Central American countries to reduce the root causes of migration, and to ensure that its policies towards those arriving at our border are consistent with the Golden Rule.