Litvack: Plea to keep families together should be non-political

Letter to the editor submitted by Sandy Litvack, Democratic Selectman, June 30, 2018

Dear Editor:

I am writing with respect to the Greenwich Time article of June 27, 2018 regarding the Indivisible Greenwich gathering on Saturday, June 30, at Town Hall to protest the Administration’s immigration policy. I attended the event and wanted to speak about it in light of the article.

I know that some claim the event was simply a political rally, which may explain why Republican officials chose not to attend.

That, in my view, was unfortunate, for this is one time when I believe we should all be able to stand together.

While it is true that I am a Democrat, it is also true that if anything can be non-political and simply moral, it ought to be the plea to keep families together, to not separate parents from their kids and to afford everyone within our borders due process of law.

That is what the event was about as far as I am concerned and that is why I was there.

I also know, as the article pointed out, that there are those officials who say that immigration is a Congressional problem and Congress should act. They are right and I agree. But, let us not be confused—what is happening now and the focus of the protest now is the result of a decision by this Administration – not Congress – to separate children from their parents and to threaten the due process rights of people in our country.

Although there are certainly important immigration issues which need to be addressed, right now the issue and focus must be on the more than 2,000 children who are separated from their parents and whose due process rights—the right to be heard, the right to have their evidence considered by a fair and impartial judge and the right to be treated with dignity—are at risk.

I care about those kids who are sitting alone in cages or so-called tent cities. I care about a government that ever thought it was okay to take children from their parents or to build tent cities to house thousands or tens of thousands of immigrants in this country. I care about anyone, especially a President, saying to immigrants, “Sorry you can’t come in. Go home.” That is not America.

And to those of my fellow elected officials who say the problem has been solved as a result of the President’s Executive Order, I say it is not solved for the more than 2,000 children who still do not know where there parents are of when or if they will ever see them again. It is not “over” when neither parents nor the children know what will happen to them or when they may be united. But even if we could undo the separations and reunite these families—and so far we have not–we cannot undo
the harm and we cannot erase the stain on our country. No Executive Order can do that.

And so that is why I went. I did not go to say “hooray for the Democrats or “boo for the Republicans” but rather to say we are Americans and Americans don’t do these things. We don’t separate parents from their children and we don’t deny people due process rights. And when that happens we stand up and say “not in my name.” We say we will sit idly by and accept such conduct as though that is who we are and as though that were normal. It is not and that is why I and hundreds of others were at Town Hall—to be heard and to deliver a message to Washington and around the world about who we are, what we believe and what we will not tolerate. I did not go to a political rally. I went to a moving moral, protest and I was proud to be there among the crowd.

Sandy Litvack