We are in a moral storm. Time for me to rant.
This is a political post. I am defining politics, in this context, as the system a society uses to set governing principles and policies that help our nation of many people get along, use resources, and live our corporate values. For those of you who don’t like political posts, this will continue as a lifestyle blog on another day. However, I need to make some clear statements in this difficult and troubling time.
I want to first acknowledge that I am not confident in the statistics that we have been given. That is troubling. News reports had shared that slightly over 2,000 children are separated from families. Then, later this week, that count was updated to 3,000. That is upsetting for several reasons: 1) another 1,000 children are separated, 2) we cannot get accurate information, and 3) we are limited in knowing who and what we can trust.
Secondly, I have written (emailed) and called The White House, the Department of Justice, my two state senators, and my congresswoman. I have donated to World Relief, an organization I trust to care for immigrants, offer law-abiding compassionate immigration services, and to advocate for these marginalized brothers and sister. I still feel frustrated with my inability to impact change and to help.
No news in this next statement. We have a big problem here. Over 3,000 children are separated from family members. We have been told some parents have already been deported without their children. We have been told some children have been deported without parents. This is crazy and painful and wrong on so many horrific layers.
From the Lens of My Profession
I am a retired educator, still credentialed in California and a mandated reporter. A mandated reporter is legally required to report any suspicion of child abuse or neglect to the relevant authorities for children encountered in my professional duties and care.
I suspect that separating children from parents qualifies as neglect. We know children are not getting the level of care and nurturing that children need developmentally. Is that not neglect? This would be unacceptable in the world of education, and I’d have to report it. It definitely has been reported. Action to investigate and correct the situation is happening. Is it? Accountability seems to be in place. Is it? One deadline expires today. We will watch and see what happens.
Some of the little ones don’t even know the name of their parent, beyond their chosen term for mother or father. Some infants do not have language to speak the identity of their parents. Even with the best-intentions, even if the child detention facility was highly-equipped, I find this tragically unfortunate and damaging to children. Not to mention the parents unable to even contact their children. It is an overwhelming mess.
From the Lens of a Manager
Even in the best case scenario where workers assigned to these children are compassionate, emotionally intelligent care givers, they must be overwhelmed by the number of children assigned to them and the level of need. If I was an employer or manager in these facilities, I would be so upset for my staff. There is often a language barrier. Resources and support are severely limited. Training has to be minimal. At any typical recess setting on the playground, there is rarely enough staff to do more than supervise for physical safety. This must even be worse.
Holding children in groups in a system not set up for this makes me so sad for these workers, the conscientious ones who need their jobs. This is not a summer camp set up to house and care for children in established, child-center, age appropriate programming until parents pick them up on Saturday. My heart breaks for the good workers trying to obey orders, yet sickened by the situation. Where is the leadership to support them in a healthy work environment that does not ask them to compromise what they know to be right? I pray they can feel compassion and see they make a difference in the lives of children each day.
I’ve heard the authorities are struggling to match parents and kids to reunite them. I cannot begin to fathom the daunting task this is, and it is taking too long. I cannot imagine how my heart would ache if I had a job at one of these facilities and could not get this situation resolved. Thousands of lives of employees and families as well as immigrant families will never be the same, and we will be picking up the pieces for decades. This is a colossal mess, creating a level of chaos that is inexcusable. Yet leadership has not been called to account yet, at least from what I have seen and heard. I feel helpless and annoyed.
From the Lens of Problem Solving
Who was in the room when it was decided to separate children from parents? Even with that being such a bad decision, who let that roll out without the administrative structure to set it up, implement it well, support the workers, and remedy when time to reunite? In other organizations, debacles like this would lead to firing of key organization leaders. Speedy resolution would be visible. Who was in the room when the decision was made to move children to other states? Or move the parents to other states? This is our government. I am in shock.
I can’t even begin to get into the costs involved. Some businesses are even profiting from this situation. I understand the lawful rights to ask for asylum that are being denied and violated. I have some insight into how our foreign policy has negatively impacted certain countries, creating the need to migrate. I resent our drug culture that continues to provide a market for drug cartels. That all feels complicated, and makes me sick to my stomach. It just feels harsh and evil.
Did we not learn from Japanese internment camps? Is it unclear that this kind of behavior makes other countries despise our policies and laugh at our leaders? There are ways to protect and defend the border, create a compassionate, reasonable, lawful pathway to citizenship, and keep families together. Stop blaming political parties. Stop misleading and misinformed information, like immigrants will flood the country. That is not accurate. Or “they” just want open borders. Very few people want open borders.
There are experts on these immigration issues in our country. Get those people in the room. Return kids to families. And let’s continue to work sensibly to address the complicated issues of legal immigration with dignity, reflecting our values as a nation. Let’s consider the Golden Rule I was taught and recited in elementary school, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Be kind.
Will there be a rainbow after this storm? I continue to lament the situation, and pray for hope and healthy, speedy resolution.