I am outraged to hear of border agents separating immigrant children from their parents. This cynical deterrent splits up children from their parents, including both asylum seekers and illegal immigrants. Worse, outside officials, even Congressmen, are not allowed to visit the children’s facilities. Visits by public officials and immigrant advocates are essential to assure oversight and accountability.
Tragic cases abound in private and public institutions that house children. Children are vulnerable to emotional, physical and sexual abuse, especially in closed, secretive settings.
Crossing the border should not be considered a criminal offense. That policy guarantees that children will be separated from their imprisoned parents. These people may not have the rights of U.S. citizens but we must treat every immigrant individual and family with dignity. Except for Alaska Natives and American Indians, all of us have immigrant parentage.
Congress must pass bipartisan reform of our immigration laws.
I’m adamantly opposed to the building of new immigration prisons. Central American refugees are fleeing horrendous social upheavals. Given the chaos of an increasingly worn-torn world, this is not the time to halt aid to troubled countries. The U.S. could better use this prison money to help stabilize the chaos in our southern neighbors’ countries. That could change the need for people to flee north for their lives.
The administration’s treatment of immigrants crossing the Mexican border is an unfolding nightmare.