Wenstrup Failed Ohioans by Looking the Other Way on “Zero Tolerance”

OH-02 Democratic nominee Jill Schiller shines a light on her opponent’s tacit approval of the Trump policy that led to the separation of children and parents.

(Originally published in the Chillicothe Gazette, 6/22/18)

Like so many Americans, I have been appalled by images of children being rounded up along our southern border and separated from parents who are fleeing desperate poverty and violence.

President Trump finally surrendered on Thursday to overwhelming public condemnation to end his policy of separating families and placing children in government detention centers. But he kept in place his policy to detain every man, woman and child who is caught up in his anti-immigration dragnet.

Donald Trump said Mexico would pay for his wall. None of us understood that to mean it would be paid for with the lives of children.

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Wenstrup looked the other way.

How did we get here? The president’s unconscionable policy wouldn’t have happened without collaborators in Congress, including Rep. Brad Wenstrup. While the people he is supposed to represent cried out for justice, Wenstrup issued a non-committal statement early in the week.

After church leaders, mothers and fathers across the country and every living former First Lady decried the policy, Wenstrup finally mustered the courage to oppose placing children in government camps.

Americans disagree about the best way to treat undocumented immigrants. But we cannot be guided by our own facts.

The fact is that the Trump administration ordered a critical change in policy to prosecute all adult, undocumented immigrants as criminals. Republican and Democratic presidents alike had, until now, prosecuted drug traffickers and smugglers while declining to treat refugees as criminals. That policy change is why Donald Trump set up massive detention camps for children.

This zero-tolerance asylum policy flies in the face of our shared history as a country. All that is enshrined in the Declaration of Independence is made a mockery by this policy. A strong border and clear immigration policy is essential to any nation’s security, but we must also remain true to who we are as a people.

No law directed the president to do this no matter how many times he repeats this lie.

A strong representative should have immediately condemned this indefensible policy. Instead, Brad Wenstrup stood on the sidelines.

I would make any sacrifice to protect my two beautiful children. And I won’t stay silent while Trump continues to impose his misguided anti-immigrant policies.

The good people of Ohio 2nd District deserve a leader who stands up for their values. It’s time to elect a representative who will stand up for families rather than protect the indefensible orders of this president.

Jill Schiller, a Cincinnati resident, is challenging U.S. Rep. Brad Wenstrup for his seat in Ohio’s 2nd Congressional District. Learn more about Jill at http://voteschiller.com/

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