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End the practice of separating families at border

You have probably heard what the Trump administration is doing to children, but in case you haven’t, prepare to be shocked and angered.

The official Trump administration policy is to separate immigrant children from their parents, forcibly if necessary, and house them in crowded detention centers, and now in a tent city in the Texas desert. So far, there have been reports of Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents, Customs and Border Patrol agents, and Office of Refugee Resettlement employees telling parents that their children are being taken to bathe, and then never returning them, or simply forcibly restraining parents while their children are driven away.

The most egregious case reported so far involves a young Honduran mother who told her attorney she was nursing her baby in a Texas detention center when ICE agents ripped the child from her breast and carried it away. Of course the Department for Homeland Security denies that ever happened, but it also denies there is any policy of separating children from their parents, while its own figures show more than 2,000 children were taken from their parents in April and May, and there are nearly 1,500 children in the Casa Padre facility alone. The department admits there are 100 children’s facilities in 17 states, and the city of Houston says it has been informed the government wants to open another facility for infants there.

These actions would be inhumane if taken against anyone, including illegal immigrants, but these people are some of the most vulnerable on the planet, and they are not illegal immigrants.

Despite spin from the Trump administration, many of the children being removed by force from their parents’ arms are part of families who came to the United States as refugees seeking asylum. They are the victims of drug cartels, violent rebels, political persecution or domestic violence, seeking to escape the horrors they face at home, only to face more horrors when they arrive at our borders.

Meanwhile, the president continues to blame the actions on Democrats while refusing to sign into law a compromise bill to prevent it from happening.

There are currently more than 1,400 children between the ages of 10 and 17 housed in a former Walmart store in Brownsville, Texas. A U.S. Senator was denied access to gather facts about the operation last week, but reporters were finally allowed in this week for a scheduled tour, albeit without cameras or recording devices of any kind. Journalists who took the tour described jail cell-like rooms without doors, built for four, but with five occupants, and murals of Trump and of at least one of the leaders of the private company that owns the immigrant children’s prison, which they euphemistically call a “shelter.”

At a border checkpoint in McAllen, Texas, reports are that children are kept in dog kennels and sleep on foam pads on the floor with thin Mylar “space blankets” for warmth.

Now the administration is building a tent city to house 360 children in Tornillo, Texas, where temperatures this week are in the 90s, and are forecast to be in the 100s next week. More tent cities are planned at Fort Bliss, Goodfellow Air Force Base, and Dyess Air Force Base, all in Texas.

What kind of country have we become when we torture families by stealing their children, and imprisoning those children in chain-link cells? What kind of Congress do we have that allows a president to get away with this?

While this continues, we cannot help but wonder what was going through the mind of Kentucky’s senior Senator Mitch McConnell when he called the past 16 months, the best period for conservative values since he went to Washington 30 years ago.

We call on Sen. McConnell, Sen. Rand Paul, Rep. Hal Rogers and all our other members of Congress to use their offices and their influence to put an immediate stop to this insanity.

The time has come to put partisanship aside for the good of the country. No human being should condone this behavior.

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