Chris Smith has promoted human rights causes around the world for people of all races. But he has no problem borrowing racial animus from Trump and the GOP when it suits his needs.
When asked about Trump’s $20 billion border wall, Smith tried to present as equivalent the bipartisan Secure Fence Act of 2006. The 2006 law only created 299 miles of vehicle barriers and 300 miles of pedestrian fencing. A Republican amendment specified that fencing not be required across the entire border. Border security is important, but this is not Trump’s $20 billion Mexican-funded hate-fueled fantasy.
Smith was also asked about the possibility of NJ becoming a sanctuary state. Rather than speaking to difficult legal and moral questions, Smith immediately went on a diatribe about dangerous immigrant felons whom we must deport to keep NJ safe. That is what sanctuary cities already do, and is exactly what Murphy plans. Anyone who commits a violent crime would not be protected. Additionally, police departments nationwide have said communities are safer if everyone feels comfortable reporting crimes to and cooperating with law enforcement. Smith surely knows this, but instead of addressing the complexities of sanctuary state policies, he dived into GOP “dangerous immigrant” rhetoric. By placing the two side by side, he is misleading the public with racial scare tactics.
Plenty of Smith’s work shows he is not racially motivated. The shame is, it also shows he should really know better. Another chance to be a leader in his party was squandered.
This letter was also published in the Atlantic Highlands Herald.