A Fine Gael TD has expressed his concern and horror with the United States (US) embassy in Ireland over the Trump administration’s policy of separating immigrant families on the southern US borders.
Dublin Fingal TD and Chair of the Oireachtas Children and Youth Affairs Committee Alan Farrell said: “The images from Texas and the US borders of tearful children being separated from their parents has left me horrified.
“As a father to two small boys and as Chair of the Oireachtas Children and Youth Affairs Committee, I can only imagine the turmoil that those separated families are currently going through. It is absolutely, utterly heart-breaking.
“As publically elected representatives, we, in time, will be judged by our responses to events that provoke anger, horror or fear. The images emerging from the US-Mexican border and of children being held in cages have invoked fear and horror worldwide. We, have an immediate duty to respond, in an appropriate fashion.
“Humane treatment does not require a Visa and the so called ‘land of the free’, the US must do better than this. This policy, adopted by the current US administration, casts an appalling shadow over the US. The treatment of families and innocent children in this way is barbaric and traumatising. It cannot be ignored or pushed away with a dismissive, misdirecting tweet.
“As a country with a long history of emigration, particularly to the United States, those who left our shores in search of a better future elsewhere were not subject to the barbaric treatment we see today when they reached Ellis Island. Given our history, we have an obligation to those who have gone before us to speak out when we see such injustices and ill-treatment of emigrants today.
“This morning (Tuesday), I have written to Reece Smyth, Chargé d’Affaires, US Embassy in Dublin informing him of my concern and horror with regard to the treatment of children and the separation policy which has been implemented by the US administration.
“I have also contacted the Organisation for Security & Cooperation in Europe President, George Tsereteli regarding the upcoming conference in Berlin where several members of both houses of the US Congress will be present for debates, including migration & people smuggling.
“The inscription (from New Colussus) on a plaque ot the Statue of Liberty in New York has proved to be inspiring and true in the last two centuries of the US.
“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door.”
“These words still ring true today and the Trump administration will do well to bear them in mind when it comes to the treatment of immigrant families and their tearful and scared children – surely the most vulnerable group worldwide – at their southern borders,” Deputy Farrell said.