How long do we have to listen to our leaders defend the indefensible practice of separating children from their parents on our southern border? How long do these children have to cry in their tents, wonder what will happen to them, and wonder what has become of their parents? How long do we have to listen to competing stories of when and why this horrific policy/practice of separating children from their parents at the border started? How long do we have to listen to leaders pass the buck and defend the horror they are perpetuating?
Everyday I wake up thinking that someone with the power to do so will stop this barbarity. Indeed, candidates are leading marches; former first ladies are speaking out; doctors, social workers, and other professionals are writing strong position statements; citizens are calling agencies and representatives; some clergy are speaking out, while others are stunningly silent. But here it is another Tuesday morning with kids still suffering and no end in sight. I’m beginning to believe that the only people who can stop this are the border patrol agents themselves. They need to stand down and say they will not participate in this cruelty. Nothing else is getting our leaders’ attention and action. Maybe border agents standing up will.
There are facts about this situation that have been well documented. You can read them here. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/fact-checker/wp/2018/06/19/the-facts-about-trumps-policy-of-separating-families-at-the-border/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.0a010c6d9569 Perhaps there are policy questions to debate. Fine. Debate them, later! Right now, we must stop this practice. Years ago, I was in positions where I had to be a part of separating children from families because of child abuse. Even in those circumstances, in which separation was the only option and desperately needed, the act of witnessing the child’s fear and the parent’s grief was one of the worst experiences of a professional life in which I’ve born witness to many horrific situations. Separating children and parents when it is not necessary to protect someone’s life is unconscionable. There can be no equivocation and no excuse. Every person who excuses, negates, minimizes, or ignores this horror is complicit. We have to all do what we can, no matter, how small and keep doing it. Each drop raises the whole sea. We have to drown this practice out.
Photo Credit: https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=images&cd=&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=2ahUKEwiRzePx59_bAhULIqwKHdHtCB0Qjhx6BAgBEAM&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.vox.com%2F2018%2F6%2F11%2F17443198%2Fchildren-immigrant-families-separated-parents&psig=AOvVaw0Qpqw84-c9hL788ALTHDI5&ust=1529500566981972
These children and their parents are suffering their worst nightmare, as are their parents.
My experience with mothers in my practice who face mortality due to a diagnosis of cancer fear separation from their children more than they fear death itself. They grieve the loss of being able to be present to their children more than the loss of their own existence.
I am lucky enough to witness the love parents have for their children every day in my job as a pediatrician. It is sacred.
May God have mercy on us as a nation and mercy on these little ones. We are better than this. Everyone who is a parent dig deep in your heart and write your congressman. Vote. Donate to organizations that can provide these children with legal representation. So they can be reunited with their parents and get back to the business of growing and learning and doing what children are supposed to do.
Thank you Lindsay. Your patients are so fortunate to have you!!!