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U.S. should support the universal right to protection

May 17, 2019
Cape Coral Daily Breeze

To the editor:

The stories coming from the southern border of children being ripped apart from the parents as they seek safety and stability are a tragedy for the U.S.

Children - no matter where they come from, no matter what their documented status, no matter what their color or gender - are children first. Those who are left with no option but to flee their homes to escape mass poverty and violence have the absolute right to be protected, to access essential services, and to be with their families - especially children.

For decades previously, the U.S. believed in opening its doors to the tired, poor, and huddled masses yearning to breathe free. But now the current administration is slamming the door on the faces of the people who most deserve our compassion and help.

It's not just wrongheaded, it's dangerous and puts the future of our society at risk of slipping past mere detention camps and going into outright concentration camps. Such is the end of the long road of dehumanizing the helpless and their children, who will be left vulnerable to exploitation and abuse by authorities and others, and will have to cope with the scars of their separation, concentration, and trauma - experiences that can seriously affect their long-term mental and behavioral development.

The best interests of refugee, asylum-seeking, migrant, and undocumented children are the best interests of the United States. If we cannot guarantee constitutional and international human rights to those who need those rights the most, they stop being rights. Unlike the current administration's cruel and inhumane application of asylum procedures and laws, they must be applied with justice and humanity no matter the person.

John Planas




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