Chronicle Editorial

Avoid the void

     There’s a difference between being wrong and telling a lie. Being wrong is unwittingly knowing an answer, or believing something to be true regardless of the facts. Telling a lie is knowingly deceiving someone.

     When a child tells their parents that they made their bed but didn’t, that’s a lie. When a child tells their parents that they made their bed by throwing all the pillows on the floor and crumpling up the sheets, the child is obviously wrong. The line between the two is hazy and dotted, and some times they get construed. But there comes a point that after telling the child five times what making the bed is, the child is no longer wrong, the child is lying.

     The Chronicle published a story this week regarding a recent federal report that lists Franklin County ninth out of 10 “Sanctuary Jurisdictions” to receive the most Immigration Customs and Enforcement detainers in the period of one week.

     The federal report made national news, as it’s part of the Trump Administration’s executive order to promote security in the interior of the U.S. Regardless of whether or not you support the order and its methods, the fact of the matter is that the order is in effect, and we, as a member of the fourth estate must still hold the administration of the order, and those in charge, accountable to it.

     What we have found is disheartening.

     In communication with ICE Public Affairs, The Chronicle was told it was just the next fact-seeking agency, besides the sheriffs’ offices, in a long line of inquiries, to contest the report, and demand an explanation.

     We weren’t given one.

     The old adage goes that when you assume, you make an “ass” out of “you” and “me.” When we are left to assume conclusions about the federal government, we open the door to conspiracy, and whether good or bad, perception defines our reality.

     The role of an effective government is to not allow for a void between reality and perception.

     With this report, there has.

     ICE has not revealed where its data source is. Franklin County Sheriff Linn Larson has been in communication with officials in Des Moines, who say they do not compile data, even though ICE out of St. Paul, Minnesota went on the record saying it did.

     ICE has not reconsidered its report’s findings. It has not wavered on conflicting statements and assumptions that Larson and other sheriffs have contested.

     ICE refuses to comment any further about what its report measures and how.

     After the first contest, you’re wrong. Maybe after the next three contests, your wrong, but when the sheriffs, the Des Moines Register, The Chronicle and other media outlets contest the same numbers and there is no explanation, you’re just perpetuating a lie. A lie that paints communities in the wrong light, and disrespects the individuals whose jobs it is to serve and protect these communities.

     The Chronicle is disappointed that ICE is beholden to challenged statistics. For whatever reason, the agency perpetuates these false numbers to support an agenda, leaving citizens to fill in the gaps. When we fill in gaps, we are wrong, but the gaps get filled anyway.

     When these gaps get filled, we divide and polarize, and lose faith in the systems whose job it is to serve and inform us.

     If this election has taught anyone anything, its that reliability and faith in the system are what make America prosper, and when that faith waivers in instances like these, that is all that’s needed.