An Open Letter to Representative Andy Harris

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Protests around the state on 21 June 21 denounced the Trump administration’s policies on immigration. These citizens in Chester are demanding that Representative Harris represent the concerns of his constituents. (Carolyn Coon/Starfish Design)

Dear Dr. Harris,

On the evening of Thursday, June 21, groups of your constituents gathered at your branch offices in Chester, Salisbury, and Bel Air to protest the Trump administration’s policies on immigration.

Seventy-five of us came together at your office in Chester. As concerned citizens of the United States, we are deeply troubled by the treatment toward peaceful asylum seekers that has been perpetrated by the president and his administration and condoned by members of Congress. We ask, as our representative in Maryland’s First Congressional District, that you represent instead our values and the founding values of our nation, which owes its strength to the ingenuity and hard work of generations of immigrants.

As a physician, you swore the Hippocratic Oath, which promotes the principle of “do no harm.” Yet the immigration policies that you and the president support unquestionably cause harm. To respect your oath, you must ensure the following:

  1. The children and parents separated at the border must be reunited immediately.
  2. Those who perpetrated this policy of family separation and child abuse must be investigated and punished.
  3. The inhumane so-called “zero tolerance” policies of the current administration must be reversed. These policies have led to the current crisis and do not represent an acceptable and humane path forward.
  4. The president’s racist and xenophobic rhetoric about immigrants must be censured. Such rhetoric leads our country down a dangerous path by dehumanizing human beings in need.

Thus far, our concerns have been unanswered. Your staff has been unable to answer our queries about how you plan to act on this issue, and one staff member even suggested that the media’s reporting of family separation was inaccurate and that constituents were overreacting when we called to express our horror at seeing children torn from their parents.

What’s more, your public response to the family separation crisis, a statement that more detention centers should be created to hold families together, is no solution. Asylum seekers should not be treated as criminals, and families should not be held indefinitely in internment camps while the U.S. government tries to figure out how to implement its own ineffective and cruel policies.

We are watching and waiting. We sincerely hope that you will act immediately to solve the humanitarian crisis created by this administration in a way that privileges tolerance and respect for human life over cruelty and small-mindedness.

Sincerely,

Kitty Maynard, administrative team member, Kent and Queen Anne’s Indivisible; Dorotheann Sandusky, president, Democratic Club of Queen Anne’s County; Denice Lombard, co-chair, Talbot Rising

On behalf of 75 concerned constituents

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