GOP Senate nominee helped drug smugglers by backing family separations


Trump's family separation policy, backed by Senate candidate Rep. Lou Barletta (R-PA), siphoned resources away from prosecuting drug smugglers.

Rep. Lou Barletta (R-PA), a fringe anti-immigrant extremist who is the Republican nominee for Senate in Pennsylvania, has previously defended Trump's cruel family separation policy. Now it turns out that the policy Barletta defended is making life easier for drug smugglers.

Prosecutions of drug traffickers plummeted over the summer of 2018 because the Trump administration focused its resources on tearing families apart instead, according to a USA TODAY investigation.

"In June and July, federal prosecutors charged fewer people with drug-trafficking violations than in any month since at least 2001," the investigation found.

Trump's "zero tolerance" policy to prosecute everyone who crossed the border, even for "minor immigration violations that resulted in no jail time and a $10 fee," took a massive amount of time and resources away from the Department of Justice.

Thanks to the Trump administration flooding the courts with thousands of these cases, prosecutors who previously worked to convict drug smugglers were reassigned to focus on misdemeanor immigration cases.

Soon, already busy courts along the border found themselves inundated with often largely symbolic cases – most of them misdemeanor charges against people caught crossing into the USA for the first time. Border agents brought adult immigrants into federal courtrooms to plead guilty by the dozens, then returned many of them to immigration detention centers, where they found their children were gone.

On the issue of immigration and border policies, Pennsylvania political experts note Barletta "is positioned hand-in-glove with the president."

Barletta didn't seem to care about how cruel it is to tear families apart. Instead, he supported the unconscionable policy as a deterrent to keep immigrants out of the United States.

Barletta claims to care about the dangers of drugs entering the country — and yet the Trump policy he supported also made that problem worse.

"I don't have much compassion for drug dealers," Barletta said after Trump threatened to impose the death penalty on all drug dealers. Meanwhile, Barletta was championing a family separation policy that diverted critical resources in the Justice Department away from prosecuting those very same drug dealers.

Barletta claims to support policies that protect American towns from "terrorists and drug dealers."

But instead, his preferred policies tear families apart, send toddlers to baby jails, aid drug dealers, and ultimately weaken the moral fabric of our country.