Monday, June 18, 2018
Editorials

Editorial: Welcome of migrants sends good message

Catholic Bishop Robert Lynch made powerful use of his moral voice by calling for Tampa Bay residents to assist the migrant children pouring across the U.S. border. Lynch's appeal captured the humanitarian issues at play and the urgency of the moment, and his leadership stands in stark contrast to the actions by communities elsewhere and members of Congress who have ignored the plight of these children or exploited it for political gain.

Lynch announced last week that he had directed the church's social services arm, Catholic Charities, to work with the U.S. bishops conference on a plan to host some of the nearly 60,000 children who have crossed the southern border. In a blog post titled "Shame, Shame," Lynch explained his thinking, pointing out that most of these children — from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador — were fleeing death, abuse and gang violence back home. "The media has done a very good job of portraying the evil at home and critics of U.S. immigration policy have done a very bad job of painting a true picture of the situation," Lynch wrote.

The bishop has used his blog effectively in the past to reach beyond the 425,000 Catholics in the Diocese of St. Petersburg, which extends over five counties, including Pinellas, Hillsborough and Pasco. Lynch noted that the church has a history over decades of responding to refugee crises. Resettling some of these children in the bay area while they wind through the immigration process, he said, is "something which we know how to do and something which we should be doing." The diocese said it could help at least 100 children with temporary housing, clothing and food. Gulf Coast Jewish Family and Community Services has already taken in boys at its 16-bed shelter in Pasco County through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Refugee Resettlement program. The Children's Home in Hillsborough County will begin accepting unaccompanied children through the same program this fall,

The bigger question is whether the Obama administration will look to deport the children quickly or treat them as refugees, which would give them temporary legal protection and clear the way for an interim resettling process.

Lynch's compassionate stance and willingness to take on this humanitarian crisis is a welcome antidote to the ugly displays by anti-immigration protesters in the border states. And it comes as Congress bolted for summer vacation without providing new money to deal with the migrant surge — and, of course, without tackling comprehensive immigration reform. Lynch is right; members of Congress are using "political gamesmanship" and a coming election to "turn a deaf ear to the cries of these kids." The situation is dire, sad and needless, and the bishop served Tampa Bay well by speaking up and offering a hand.

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Editorial: Trump should stop taking children away from parents at the border

Editorial: Trump should stop taking children away from parents at the border

Innocent children should not be used as political pawns. That is exactly what the Trump administration is doing by cruelly prying young children away from their parents as these desperate families cross the Mexican border in search of a safer, better...
Updated: 7 hours ago

Editorial: ATF should get tougher on gun dealers who violate the law

Gun dealers who break the law by turning a blind eye to federal licensing rules are as dangerous to society as people who have no right to a possess a firearm in the first place. Yet a recent report shows that the federal agency responsible for polic...
Published: 06/17/18
Updated: 06/18/18
Editorial: Encouraging private citizens to step up on transit

Editorial: Encouraging private citizens to step up on transit

The new grass-roots effort to put a transportation package before Hillsborough County voters in November faces a tough slog. Voters rejected a similar effort in 2010, and another in 2016 by elected officials never made it from the gate. But the lates...
Published: 06/15/18
Editorial: 40 years later, honoring remarkable legacy of Nelson Poynter

Editorial: 40 years later, honoring remarkable legacy of Nelson Poynter

Forty years ago today, Nelson Poynter died. He was the last individual to own this newspaper, and to keep the Times connected to this community, he did something remarkable. He gave it away.In his last years, Mr. Poynter recognized that sooner or lat...
Published: 06/15/18

There was no FBI anti-Trump conspiracy

The Justice Department released Thursday the highly anticipated report on the FBI’s handling of the Hillary Clinton email probe and other sensitive issues in the 2016 election. It is not the report President Donald Trump wanted. But there is enough i...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/15/18

Voter purge may be legal, but it’s also suppression

The Supreme Court’s ruling last Monday to allow Ohio’s purging of its voter rolls is difficult to dispute legally. While federal law prohibits removing citizens from voter rolls simply because they haven’t voted, Ohio’s purge is slightly different. T...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/15/18

Editorial: Free rides will serve as a test of whether the streetcar is serious transportation

Who wouldn’t jump at the chance to ride for free?This fall, the TECO Streetcar Line eliminates its $2.50-a-ride-fare, providing the best opportunity yet to see whether the system’s vintage streetcar replicas can serve as a legitimate transportation a...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/15/18

AT&T and the case for digital innovation

A good way to guarantee you’ll be wrong about something is to predict the future of technology. As in, "One day, we’ll all …" Experts can hazard guesses about artificial intelligence, driverless cars or the death of cable television, but technologica...
Published: 06/14/18
Editorial: State, nonprofits share obligation to help Hillsborough’s foster kids

Editorial: State, nonprofits share obligation to help Hillsborough’s foster kids

The Florida Department of Children and Families has correctly set a quick deadline for Hillsborough County’s main child welfare provider to correct its foster care program. For too long the same story has played out, where troubled teens who need fos...
Published: 06/14/18
Editorial: Educate voters on Amendment 4 and restoring felons’ rights

Editorial: Educate voters on Amendment 4 and restoring felons’ rights

This fall voters will have 13 constitutional amendments to wade through on the ballot, but Amendment 4 should get special focus. It represents a rare opportunity to rectify a grievous provision in the Florida Constitution, which permanently revokes t...
Published: 06/13/18
Updated: 06/14/18