Rep. Tonko critical of Trump's immigration policy

June 24, 2018 07:51 PM

SCHENECTADY - The images, the audio, and anecdotes of children ripped from their parents arms and placed in cages were more than powerful for most people.

For Rep. Paul Tonko, they were painful, deplorable and totally unacceptable.

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“A just society, a civil society, the American society doesn't do this to children and families,” Tonko said.

Tonko describes President Donald Trump's zero tolerance policy toward immigration as "one giant mess," even if Trump doesn't see it that way.

“Loopholes in our immigration laws all supported by extremist open-border Democrats. It's a whole big con job. In the meantime, people are suffering because of the Democrats,” Trump said.

“That is not true, simply not true,” Tonko said.

Tonko isn't alone when it comes to questioning Trump’s integrity. At a farmer's market in Schenectady, American immigration policy opinions were ripe for the harvest.

“I think it's so extreme. I don't see how you can cling to your view that the President is a great guy and just what you want. He's not what I want,” said Don McLaughlin.

“I think none of us would be here if this policy was instituted now regardless of who we are,” said Nadine McLaughlin. “None of us would be here, except the Indians.”

For Nadine and Don, their greatest concern at this point is for the whereabouts and welfare of more than 2,000 children. It's a concern shared by Tonko.

“There's science-based evidence that this separation anxiety can impact lives for a lifetime. These children may very well be destroyed,” Tonko said.

Which is why he is calling for a bipartisan solution to something he sees as having already caused permanent harm to America's claim as a universal beacon of human rights.

“We need to do something in a very urgent way, a very balanced way, in a thoughtful way that moves us along in a compassionate way,” Tonko said.

When Tonko returns to Washington on Monday, he believes resolving the nation's immigration fiasco needs to be the top priority among his congressional colleagues if, for no other reason he says, for the sake of 2,200 or so lonely children.


Dan Levy

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