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Voices / Letters from readers

Separating children from parents must be addressed at border and here at home

I’ve read over and over again the letters and opinions concerning the separation of children from their parents on the border, and it made me think about separating children from parents of U.S. citizens.

Departments of children/youth/families go by different names in each state, and we often read of tragic cases where children were left in homes they should not have been and were abused or even killed as a result.

But when these agencies go after people for the wrong reasons, do we have as much passion to right those wrongs? If the department of children and families in your state knocks on your door to “investigate” you, you have to comply, or they may take your children away.

Children are removed from homes, legally in this country, not always for the right reasons. All it takes is repeated allegations. Children might then wind up in foster care, or with a relative, and can end up in a worse situation as a result.

We have not addressed the fact that when people commit certain crimes in this country, the first thing that often happens is the children are taken away from their parents. The children are helpless victims of their parents’ conscious decision to break the law, be it here in the U.S. or by illegally crossing the border.

Those illegally crossing the border have subjected their children to grave and real danger. We also have to assess whether these children are actually family members, or have they been kidnapped to be smuggled here and sold into the sex trade or worse. Current immigration law leaves us with no way to determine that.

I don’t pretend to have all the answers. I’m also not suggesting that being a parent and having your kids present during commission of a crime should excuse the crime. But I firmly believe the separation of children from parents must be addressed — not just at the border, but right here at home.

Sandy Golden
Hinsdale, NH

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Originally published in The Commons issue #468 (Wednesday, July 18, 2018). This story appeared on page D1.

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