Taking children from parents is abuse

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The taking of mothers and fathers from children and deporting them is a serious, criminal form of child abuse. Many of these children, who are losing their parents to deportation, are American citizens.

You might say, “Well, send them back with the parents.” Can you imagine what this would look like? These people came here in a desperate and dangerous way, to avoid starvation, fear, and lack of opportunities that we take for granted. To dump them back inside the country they fled with their children, American citizens, in tow? Why should we think that their lot will now be any less miserable than it was when they left? Why should any foreign country want to take care of American citizens that we are dumping on them?

And their children would be left here with neighbors or friends who may not be able to even feed them and clothe them. How is this not child abuse?

Many of us are second and third generation Americans. Try to imagine if your grandparents had been sent back to Ireland, England, France or other countries 100 years ago. How do you think they would have fared? Where is the compassion?

We say, “But they’re illegal,” as if legality were always the last word. Lots of laws in our past (Jim Crow, internment camps, to name just two) were legal, that doesn’t make them right or wrong, or even moral.

I have spent a lot of time volunteering in Third World countries, primarily in Latin America, teaching and practicing medicine. I also have volunteered here as a mentor, teacher, medical provider, community organizer and helping hand where needed. I was taught that this is how we give back, when we are fortunate. And every American is fortunate compared to the rest of the world.

And the truth is verifiable. These “illegals” cause half the amount of crime per capita as Americans, pay taxes and Social Security, although they will never see a cent back — they get no welfare or other benefits — work hard, all so that their children can have the opportunities we were born with by virtue of having been born here.

I am a Vietnam veteran, and worked with sick and wounded soldiers, and Vietnamese men, women and children. It has left a scar on my soul. This is how we heal.

I’m sorry, folks. Taking parents away from their children is the highest form of child abuse and should be considered a serious criminal act. I am concerned that law enforcement, CYFD, and our legal system hasn’t taken ICE to court for these actions.

Balsamo is a physician assistant and resident of Ranchos de Taos.

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