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Consider the welfare of immigrant children

Children who have crossed into the United States

Children who have crossed into the United States from Mexico and countries south sleep on the floor of a holding cell at a U.S. Customs and Border Protection facility in Brownsville, Texas, on June 18, 2014. Credit: AP / Eric Gay

Two concepts from child welfare are useful in the immigration debate [“Immigration policy,” News, Feb. 22].

First, social workers consider what’s in the best interests of the child. Second is the concept of parental willingness to care for the child.

When immigrant parents bring their children to the United States, we see their extreme willingness to take their children out of harm’s way in other countries to protect them from death, abuse by gangs and poverty.

I know the safety of the country is important. However, the best interests of the child and parental willingness to care should surpass hate and fear in our perspectives on Dreamers and families affected by the federal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

Michael J. Smith, Massapequa Park

Editor’s note: The writer is a professor emeritus of the Silberman School of Social Work at Hunter College.