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On Separating Children

If you’ve missed the uproar over the separation of about 2000 immigrant children from their families over the past week or so, you might need to get out more. The outrage has dominated the media cycle, changing the front page away from the things we were concerned about last week…still again. But that’s a different problem.

The argument over why these children are being separated certainly boils down to the attack or defense of our government and whether these are policies or laws that caused what happened. If a law caused these separations, Congress would need to act (need I remind you that immigration has needed the attention of Congress for 40 or 50 years?). If it is a policy, the Administration is squarely to blame. I’ll let your opinion over this debate be solved by your trust for the parties involved.

One of the ways we can test our moral fiber is to compare our outrage on one subject with some other ways a similar cause is being treated. Here are a few samples.

For over 20 years, I have repeated a sad statistic about children separated from their fathers to the yawns of foundations, grant application committees and even families considering divorce as a solution to their issues. Twenty-four million children will put their head on their pillow tonight without a father in the house. They might not have spoken to him today or last week or in years. Their mother might not want or allow them to speak to each other (for good or bad reasons). These children might not know where their fathers are or whether they care. It breaks my heart.

Ninety-two thousand children have been forcibly removed from their parents because their parents were abusing drugs. That doesn’t count the other half million children in our foster care system right now. These children have also been separated from their parents. The bleeding-heart psychologists don’t write or complain or do television news interviews about this issue. There aren’t enough homes to take these children in right now.

We move from a half million children to over three quarters of a million children for the next group of separated children. Their parents are on active duty in our military right now; fighting and dying for freedom around the globe. That’s right. The number is about 765,000. That’s way more than 2000. But we all put our heads on our pillows last night without reading any news stories or giving to any charities over this separation.

Speaking of giving to charities…did you see where over $5 million dollars has been donated to relieve the terrible suffering of these 2000 children—many of whom were sent here over perilous roads unaccompanied? I’m not sure how we will reunite these families because their parents are responsible for the separation. But I am impressed with the willingness of so many Americans to donate to a cause that will help these children because of a few videos depicting their tears.

I have to fight the urge to be sarcastic. I didn’t even mention the millions of babies separated from their parents in doctor’s offices and clinics for the convenience of a mother who will struggle with her decision for the rest of her life. And don’t get me started over the fathers who wanted to raise that child but were told they have no say.

Moral outrage is a curious thing. Could we just learn to think a little deeper and be a little more consistent before we lose our tempers and say something illogical?

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