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Viewpoint: Children separated from parents

I can't believe that once again I am sitting at the computer to write of painful political news—the separating of children from their parents because they have fled from the violence of their country to the country whose symbol is the Statue of Liberty: "give me your tired... your huddled masses yearning to be free."

The present administration, namely the Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, has ordered the separation of parents from their children as a punishment or deterrent for parents who have tried to come into this country to save the lives of these very children! These refugee families from Central America are fleeing immediate danger to their lives and the lives of their children. Often this is because they have been targeted by gangs and drug cartels as a result of their testimonies against these violent groups of people. And, these are the very countries that our state department advises our citizens not to go there because of the violence.

You who are parents, can you imagine the fright of these children, already suffering the loss of home and all that is familiar, to suddenly be torn away from their parents, more often the mother? Think of your own children, suddenly taken from the you, the ones they not only love most in the world but whose arms represent their security. Do these children understand why suddenly they are in the homes of sometimes total strangers who do not speak their language? Of strange food and culture, all alone with nothing familiar for comfort? The fear of loss and the unknown. Can you imagine the frightened children as they go to bed in fear in strange surroundings? Where is Mama or Papa? What happened? When will we see them again? Surely, they will come and get us. Even when the sponsors are relatives, they are still often strangers. I may be dramatic but I as a mother, grandmother and great grandmother, I don't believe so.

Now let's look at the pain of the parents who are trying to save their children, suddenly to have them taken away to who knows where. Their questions might be: where are my children sleeping? What will they eat? Unfamiliar food? And when one of these children cries for a mother or father, will someone else in a different language be able to comfort this child? Will another person know the certain habits of a frightened child to help him or her sleep? Can you feel these worries and the anguish of these parents?

And now to top it off, it is reported that perhaps as many as 1,500 of these children who were sent to foster homes, now cannot be traced! Where are these sponsors? Can you imagine a mother or father's suffering? Where are my children? "Oh! God help me if I have lost them!" If we cannot feel this pain, then I wonder about our empathy. Is this to be judged moral and just in the United States, a country that has gone to war to protect the morality and justice of other countries, Hitler's Germany for example? Remember the Jewish children torn from their parents? I don't believe our Attorney General would make this cruel and inhuman order if he were not told to do so by the President. Can we, mothers, fathers and grandparents, no matter what your political party or religion are, stand for this? What do we do? We must speak up! In all that is occurring in the world today, are we becoming immune? History is full of cruel, inhuman treatment—think back. This order has to be added to those most cruel moments in history.

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