What I Believe and Why

Over the past week, I’ve gotten questions at several events about my position on the federal policy that separates migrant parents from their children when they cross the border into the United States. Like everyone else in America and the world this immoral and indefensible policy has been on my mind.

I was asked about this issue in a very powerful way by a voter at a town hall meeting in Deerfield. She wasn’t asking because she wanted to know what I thought about the policy. That was easy. There really is no room on this one. Reasonable people cannot disagree. The policy is wrong. She knew this. I’m sure she knew I would agree with her.

It was clear to me that she didn’t want to know what I thought, but why I thought it. She wanted to know about my values and she wanted to ensure I would be the kind of public officials who would stand up and prevent these kinds of grievous abuses.

So, after telling her what I thought, I told her why. And I want to share my thoughts with all of you.

When I think about policies our government should enact, I consider a lot of factors, but at the end of the day, there are three points on my moral compass:

1. I’m married to a proud, first-generation immigrant. My wife Tara’s family, like so many of the immigrant families that come to America today, left her home country because her parents were seeking to escape violence. In her case, it wasn’t the drug violence of Central America, but the car bombings and religious violence of Northern Ireland in the early 80s. So when I hear stories of people fleeing violence and seeking safety in the United States, I take it personally. And I deeply believe in an America that welcomes the tired and poor and lives up to our highest ideals.

2. I’m a dad... Every parent who has felt the surge of panic and fear of losing a child for even a moment at the park or in the mall knows this policy is evil. Punishing those accused of entering the country illegally with this emotional torture is cruel and unusual. The government should be supporting parents and families, not ripping them apart.

3. I care about our community. America is resilient and prosperous because we have harnessed the entrepreneurial instincts of those that take the great risks of coming to a new country because they wanted to earn great rewards it offers. I want to do more to ensure America’s prosperity and reaches more people. Building a wall of fear and shutting immigrants out won’t help anybody.

These are the reasons why I condemn this policy. These are the reasons why I took my youngest son Lincoln to his first protest on May 1st - a vigil to bear witness against this injustice. We’ll be back at the second vigil on Saturday at 11:00 AM at City Hall in Manchester. I hope you’ll join us.

As everyone knows, New Hampshire Executive Councilors don’t set immigration policy, but if I have the honor of representing you, I will always speak out and ensure New Hampshire does everything possible to reject and condemn these kinds of immoral and unjust policies.

I hope you will join me and I would be honored to have your support.


graham chynoweth