TODAY'S PAPER
47° Good Morning
NEWSDAY DEALS
YOU ARE A DEALS MEMBERVIEW DEALS
47° Good Morning
OpinionLetters

Readers react to family-separation controversy

Children and workers are seen Tuesday at an

Children and workers are seen Tuesday at an encampment in Tornillo, Texas. The Trump administration is using the tent facility to house immigrant children separated from their parents. Credit: Getty Images / Joe Raedle

Sadly, families are torn apart every day when fathers are taken away because they have murdered someone, or mothers have been caught with stolen credit cards or children have sold drugs. These people decided to break the law and have to face the consequences.

Breaking into America is a crime. We can mitigate that by saying they take risks for a better life — just like the bank robber who takes risks for a better life [“Trump defends border policies,” News, June 19].

But it is hypocritical, intellectually dishonest and an insult to the population and to the Constitution to suggest that people entering illegally are anything but criminals.

I have nothing against immigrants. I have immigrant blood in my veins. I do have something against those who break the law, regardless of the law broken.

John Savin,Massapequa Park

I have never written a letter to a newspaper before, but I feel compelled to now.

Regardless of how you feel about illegal immigration, the minors who were brought here by their parents, with no ability to consent, are innocent of any crime. Because of this, it is cruel and inhuman to take them away from their parents and families. They should be kept together until their fate can be decided. This is the right, legal and humane thing to do.

Laurie Giordano,

Setauket

The pain of crying children is heart wrenching [“Audio of children adds to pressure,” News, June 18]. Without defending any policy, we need to be pragmatic and look at the full picture. Consider what these immigrants are running from: No matter the answer, to be bad enough to leave, it caused all of these kids to cry often and hard. When they left their homes and relatives, they cried. During their harsh journeys, they cried. Now they get separated from parents.

Yet in U.S. detention centers, they are in much better conditions. We make sure they are fed, get medical care, education and more. Some of their journeys’ goals are accomplished!

Should all of the blame go the U.S. government? Maybe some. But the parents chose to take an incredible risk to come to the United States. Many die on this journey.

I’d like to think we can do better. No solution is without victims, which is sad.

Jeffrey Goldman,West Babylon

In your June 17 news story “Further restricting asylum,” Jose Osmin Aparicio said that because of MS-13 gang violence, he fled El Salvador with his wife and four children and paid a smuggler $8,000.

His wife and three of their children are in Maryland, awaiting processing of their asylum requests. Meanwhile, Aparicio and his teenage son wait in Mexico on their U.S. asylum requests. They are undeterred by a new directive from Attorney General Jeff Sessions that gang violence will generally cease to be grounds for asylum. To Aparicio, it’s better to take his chances with the U.S. system and stay in Mexico if his bid is denied.

It’s time for immigrants in our country illegally to likewise respect our country’s laws and stand in line with Aparicio and others for entry into the United States.

William Adams Littell,

Moriches

Thanks for your June 3 editorial, “Immigration is lost in Congress.” It seems neither party will settle down to enact proper laws to help parents and children who have entered the country illegally. It amazes me how little our members of Congress, our attorney general and others seem to care about the children they are separating from parents.

As a person who grew up in an orphanage in Queens from age 6 to 16, I could tell them it is painful not to live with a parent to offer love and guidance, dealing only with supervisors.

I would like to think our leaders could think about these people as humans and not just pawns in a political game.

Dorothy A. Jentz,Huntington

Americans of faith and good conscience must rise up against the policy of ripping immigrant children from their parents at the Mexican border. However you feel about immigration, this practice is cruel and unusual punishment, a violation of human rights, a crime against humanity.

The Trump administration does this horror in our name, and we must stop it. Pray. Protest. Post on Facebook. Tweet. Call your members of Congress and the White House. Donate to organizations opposing this policy. Visit these holding places if you can. Lawyers and interpreters, get involved.

Government kidnapping to deter “unwanted” immigrants is indefensible. Using Romans 13, about obeying authority, to justify this is like arresting someone for resisting arrest. Plenty of Bible verses speak against unjust laws and policies, and speak for welcoming the stranger and loving your neighbor. What happened to the America that welcomed “your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free”?

Melanie N. Lee,

East Elmhurst

I don’t see the problem that so many people are having with the Justice Department separating children from adults who have entered the country illegally. We are a nation of laws and no one has the right to enter illegally, nor to bring their children with them.

I am sure that when people who seek asylum are denied, the government will try to deport them with their children. The longer they fight, the longer they will be apart from their children. Reunification can be accomplished by renouncing pleas for asylum and agreeing to immediate voluntary deportation.

James H. Wood,North Babylon

A letter writer conflates American children being separated from their American parents when those parents are incarcerated with refugee children being separated from parents who have brought them to the country illegally [“Two sides of family-separation debate,” Letters, June 19].

However, the manner by which these families are separated is vastly different.

The American children are likely placed with family and not caged by strangers in uniforms. The American children know, however unsavory, where their parents are. The incarcerated American parents know who is caring for their children. The American children still have access to their parents by visits and by phone. It is more likely that the American children have access to toys, a bed, schooling and food provided by a family member, not a thin mat and a space blanket. The American children are not given an identification number that they must bear like cattle.

If we want to make these circumstances equal, let’s afford the immigrant children the same conditions as the American children have when separated from their incarcerated parents.

Barbara M. Weltsek,Mount Sinai

Thank you for Matt Davies’ June 13 editorial cartoon, in which Kim Jong Un approves of Donald Trump’s separation of families at the U.S.-Mexico border.

It looks like we are leaning more toward Russia and North Korea as allies. We are at a horrifying moment as we remove children from their parents. We hear of children sent to detention centers and lost in the system. Can you imagine the fear and terror they experience? Removing children from their parents is a human rights issue, a right-to-life issue and a moral issue. Where are our courage and compassion? Where are our voices? Have we lost our moral compass?

Sister Nancy Fackner,Brentwood

Editor’s note: The writer is a member of the sisters of St. Joseph.

It was most difficult for me to hear Attorney General Jeff Sessions quote the Bible to justify separating children from their mothers and putting these children into a situation that must be described as terrifying.

Shakespeare said it well: “The devil can cite Scripture for his purpose. An evil soul producing holy witness is like a villain with a smiling cheek, a goodly apple rotten at the heart.”

Quoting the Bible to justify hurting children is about as low as one can go.

Marion Boden,Hampton Bays

I read Paul’s Letter to the Romans, including verses quoted by Attorney General Jeff Sessions. It does say that we should be obedient to the government, but a lot is missing.

First, the assumption is that the government will punish people who do wrong and not those who do right. Sounds good, but what if the government does ill to obedient people? Did God ordain this? I don’t think so.

Second, this scripture is an expression of governments long ago. Today, many governments are understood to be creations of the will of the people. In the United States, it is.

But we seem to be facing a government that wishes to ignore the people’s will and inconvenient laws and say, “This is God’s will.” It is not. This government is setting up what look like concentration camps. The government cannot expect us to remain quiet and smile.

Gordon Stewart,

Smithtown

 

At age 98, I believe I have more experience than two men, aged 61 and 42, who took part in a demonstration against immigrant children being separated from their parents at the U.S. border.

“We should welcome these people. If they have the right reasons, we should let them in,” one of the men said.

Sure millions of them. Why not!

“It’s just a fundamental issue what is right and wrong,” another demonstrator said.

When you break the law, it’s wrong sir!

John Herman,

North Babylon

 

As a U.S. citizen and taxpayer, I am outraged by the immoral actions taking place at our Southern border. Separating parents from their children is inhumane. There is no justification for this practice. Claims by Homeland Security, the attorney general and the Trump administration that they are following the law are a travesty.

To be clear, this is a policy enacted by the current administration. The laws of a great nation should never involve cruelty. If America is to lead the world by example, it should be with just and compassionate action. Is this how we want our country to be remembered when history judges us? One does not need to look back very far to see where we are headed.

Erika Lichy,

Merrick

Editor's note: The spelling of reader John Savin's first name has been corrected. 

 

Comments

We're revamping our Comments section. Learn more and share your input.

Columns