Editorial: Living Up to Our Moral Principles

By Roberto Reveles

Note: Mr. Reveles addressed the Pinal County Board of Supervisors at their regular meeting on July 25. Following is a transcript of his comments.

I want to thank Chairman Todd House and Supervisor Pete Rios for your principled “yes” votes four weeks ago on the resolution expressing opposition to the federal government’s inhumane policy of separating immigrant children from their parents.

Despite a court ordering reunification of detained immigrant families by tomorrow, today, more than 2,000 children still remain separated from their families, including family members in detention centers within our own Pinal County.

Although you voted no, thank you Supervisors Smith, Goodman and Miller for saying you oppose separating children from their families, while revealing why you nonetheless opposed the resolution.

I had hoped these intervening four weeks would have provided time to, as some of you put it, enhance and broaden the resolution. A re-written resolution presumably would accommodate first, Mr. Smith’s seemingly realistic focus on job growth and work force concerns; next, Mr. Goodman’s conflicted view on separation of children, influenced both by a violent attack on his son by immigrants and by witnessing effects of the state’s forced separation on a family acquaintance; and lastly, your enhanced resolution would presumably reflect Mr. Miller’s view to satisfy moral issues relating to human traffickers’ abandonment of victims in the desert, including condemnation of abortion and his conclusion that immigration policies should be left to “professionals.”

Therefore, it’s disappointing to note that today’s agenda does not include a resolution re-stating opposition to the federal government’s ongoing inhumane separation of thousands of immigrant children, while reflecting unique concerns raised by members of this board.

One would hope that public pronouncements of moral values and core beliefs about universal human dignity should never become outdated or suspended because of on-again, off-again federal immigration policy announcements, nor influenced by personal grievances.

As our county leaders, you clearly need to consider how federal public policies affecting cross-border movement of people will eventually impact Pinal County’s future.

To believers, there is no equivocation in Matthew 25, “What you did not do for one of these least ones, you did not do for me.”

Therefore, it is no exaggeration to suggest that how we respond to this generational watershed issue will define our nation’s and Pinal County’s moral authority.

For these secular and moral reasons, I urge you to place your enhanced and broadened resolution on the agenda.

Photo above: Painting by Vanessa Ortiz

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