This weekend, Immigration and Customs Enforcement will be targeting families in deportation raids (“Fed to launch nationwide raids targeting people in U.S. illegally,” front page, July 12). As pediatricians, we are very concerned about this plan for several reasons. Specifically, we are afraid of the risk not only of emotional trauma but also physical abuse of children.
Kevin McAleenan, the commissioner of Customs and Border Protection, described the plan for intentionally separating families as follows: When officers encounter mixed-status families where children are U.S. citizens but parents are not, they plan to arrest the parents. The children will then be held in a hotel room by ICE agents until they can be “claimed” by a relative.
This plan of intentional family separation is dangerous to children. There is no guarantee that children will have another adult family member easily able to “claim” them. As a result, we will see a potentially large number of children, ranging from newborns to adolescents, living in hotels, guarded by ICE agents, for an indefinite period of time.
Far from being trained in responding to acute childhood trauma, we have seen reports of ICE and CBP agents engaged in abusive speech related to immigrants (“House members visit migrant detention centers,” July 2). The potential for emotional, physical and even sexual abuse in this situation is high and unacceptable. We have a responsibility to protect the physical and emotional safety of our children. We cannot allow this action to proceed as planned.
Hannah Lichtsinn, VERONICA SVETAZ and CALLA BROWN, Minneapolis
Lichtsinn and Svetaz are assistant professors of medicine at the University of Minnesota and Brown is a pediatrics fellow there.
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The issues with the southern border and immigrants is a symptom, not the problem. The problem is that we have abandoned the Central American countries the immigrants are fleeing. No person wants to leave their home, family, friends and country. They leave because it’s unsafe and there’s no chance for a future.
If we were to spend the $6 billion that President Donald Trump wants for a border wall on helping those countries with law enforcement, education and jobs, we’d see fewer people willing to risk their lives to get into a country that has those basic rights and opportunities.
We as a nation need to address Central America and its humanitarian needs or we’ll see those that are creating the dangerous environments win a foothold that will be much harder and more costly — in money and lives — to fix. This is the problem that politicians should be focusing on, not the symptoms.
Norman Hickel, Prior Lake
Leave education policy to the states
Several Democratic candidates are following Sen. Bernie Sanders’ lead on tuition-free college, which would be financed at the federal level by making the rich pay their “fair share” of taxes.
Consider an alternative approach: Leave education policy and financing to the states, consistent with the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution. Let the states be what former Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis called “laboratories of democracy” and see what innovations they come up with.
Take Tennessee, for example, where the Republican government is providing free two-year community or technical college, the Promise program for high school graduates and Reconnect for adults, both funded by the lottery.
Alan Auckenthaler, Minneapolis
Ambassador Darroch should stay; it’s Trump who should resign
We have seen the Hypocrite-in-Chief in robust form recently. England’s ambassador to the U.S., Sir Kim Darroch, resigned this week after 42 years with the foreign office after possible future prime minister and Trump toady Boris Johnson refused his support if he gained this position (“ ‘It could have been any of us,’ ” July 11).
Before Sir Kim resigned, to much distress in Parliament, Donald Trump called him “a very stupid guy” and other insults. All Sir Kim had done was put into a classified cable what virtually every ambassador in the world knows: The Trump White House is rudderless, dysfunctional, incompetent and in disarray.
One question: Why does a decent man who spoke truth to power resign while the worst examples of bad behavior are weekly, if not daily, flowing from the mouth and Twitter account of Trump, yet he stays on? Ambassador Darroch displayed more class in two hours than Trump has shown in his entire life.
Bob Brereton, St. Paul
Employers must recognize what it takes to raise young children
In response to Michele Norris’ July 11 commentary, “Why don’t Americans talk about child care?”: Yes, yes, yes! It’s time we — all of us — started talking about what’s happening in families with young children. We are, as she so succinctly states, “a culture that romanticizes motherhood but still disdains (and rarely discusses) the very real needs of working mothers.” Among those needs, for the stressed-out young mothers I’ve taught, pastored and loved: availability of part-time work that doesn’t sacrifice insurance benefits, generous sick leave that doesn’t impact vacation time (Have a kid that ends up in the hospital for a week? No vacation for you!), and flexibility on the part of employers for parents to attend school functions.
My hope is that as the unemployment rate drops, employers will be willing to adopt more of these family-friendly policies. On a larger scale, what’s needed is broader cultural awareness of what kids need to thrive physically, mentally and emotionally, and a deeper, more widespread commitment to supporting them and the families that raise them.
Susan Weaver, Eden Prairie
Current climate isn’t teaching my kids how to debate complexity
While I was driving with my 10-year-old the other day, he pointed out a yard sign that read, “F*** you, Trump.” I am no fan of the president, but I cannot condone this sentiment, either. I can rationalize that it’s possible that presidents’ actions and words may be a catalyst for this type of behavior; my kids cannot.
The ugliness from both parties abounds. What are we teaching our children? That politics are an opportunity to discuss and debate a diverse array of complicated issues? Or are we just reinforcing the idea that, in the words of my 7-year-old, “Politics are yucky”?
Thomas Case, Minneapolis
It’s gross. Deal with it anyway.
Regarding dog poop (“Savage addresses its No. 2 problem, telling dog owners to #ScoopThePoop,” July 10), proper pickup is paramount. Our health and our physical environment are greatly affected by the bacteria that runs off into nearby lakes and streams. E. coli is the No. 1 threat. Tossing a plastic bag full of dog poop in the garbage, however, has its own deleterious affects. Best practices include a small hole dug in the backyard in an out-of-the-way spot where pet poop can be dumped. When the season changes simply place excess dirt on top to cover. Repeat every year.
Since dog owners are typically homeowners this shouldn’t be a problem. For others, just make “doo-doo.”
Sharon E. Carlson, Andover