The crisis situation at the U.S. southern border came into sharp focus last week following the publication of a heartbreaking photo of a man and his young daughter who drowned together while attempting to cross the Rio Grande River and illegally enter the United States.
Fox News host Shepard Smith unsurprisingly utilized that horrible image as a cudgel to attack the administration of President Donald Trump with a sanctimoniously emotional diatribe that all but called for open borders and zero checks against the flow of migrants into the country.
Smith began with a warning about the “deeply disturbing image” he was about to display on the screen and proceeded to give an account of how the man and little girl ended up dead on the banks of the river.
The family from El Salvador migrated north to the border but were initially prevented from entering the U.S. to make an asylum claim, and were ultimately told to wait in a migrant camp in Mexico until their case could be adjudicated.
Unwilling to wait, the family made an attempt to cross a bridge into America but were rebuffed there as well, which prompted the father to unsuccessfully try and swim across the dangerous river with his little daughter on his back.
What Smith failed to mention is that, as horrible as the deaths may be, they were the result of the father’s impatience with the system — not President Trump or his policies — and that father’s defiance led him to make the fateful decision to cut in line and sidestep the legal process.
Later in the segment, while speaking with columnist A.B. Stoddard, Smith became emotional and seemed on the verge of tears as he discussed the plight of migrants in the border region, and he strongly implied that our nation should simply step aside and let them all enter freely.
Referencing the words inscribed at the base of the Statue of Liberty — a poem, rather than the country’s longstanding, official foreign policy — Smith said, “Through the history of this nation, we have said, ‘give us your tired, your poor, and your huddled masses.’ That’s what we’ve said as a society to people who were in a position where they cannot or their children cannot properly survive.
“And we have always, since the dawn of this nation, ‘then come, we’ll figure this out.’ And since the dawn of this nation, every time those communities have come here they’ve made America better,” he continued with a cracking and emotional voice. “We’ve always said yes. We’ve said if you’re in the right place, if your heart is in the right place and your idea is in the right place and you want to come be a part of this grand experiment, we want you here,” Smith added, seemingly on the verge of tears.
Legislation, not lore
The photo of the drowned father and daughter is wrenching indeed, but it doesn’t justify abandoning all laws and processes in place for legal entry into the U.S.
As cumbersome and time-consuming as those procedures may be to some, that does not justify skipping the line to enter the nation illegally in a risky and potentially deadly manner, which is precisely what happened here.
If people like Shepard Smith don’t like the existing framework for legal entry into the United States, they need to lobby Congress to change them legislatively, not simply suggest we base national security and foreign policies on sentimental old poems that would, in effect, throw open our borders to any and all comers.