Our mission has always been to protect children. Immigration issues may seem beyond the realm of our fight for clean air — but they are connected. So we feel compelled to speak up in the face of the alarming news we are reading.
Border patrol agents and police at the southern border of the U.S. are ripping children from their mothers’ arms, shipping them off hundreds of miles away to chain-linked enclosures until judges decide what to do with their parents crossing illegally into this country.
I am stunned and haunted by such brutal inhumanity, ordered by American authorities.
Immigration is a complicated issue and policy debates will continue for quite a long time. There are legal ways to enter this country, but these parents are desperate. I am appalled that we are deliberately, cruelly using children as tools of political propaganda.The Justice Department has announced that parents who cross the border illegally — no matter what hardship they are fleeing — should know that America will snatch their children from them. In two weeks in May, we took more than 650 children from their parents.
We are subjecting toddlers to soul-crushing punishment. I can only imagine their terror: they have no idea where they are. In a horrible instant they have lost their families; they do not know who will take care of them.
Many of us know how tricky it is to help children through their first “sleepovers” at friends’ houses — we are extraordinarily fortunate that that is the extent of our dealing with such separations — and even so, some children cannot even bear that much time away from home.
Can we stand by while America treats others’ children so brutally?
Moms Clean Air Force works to clean our air and stop dangerous climate emissions because we care so deeply about the world we are making for our children. I’m a grandmother now, and while I’m not yet ready to think about the world I am leaving behind (I’m hoping to be here a while!), I do think about the conditions into which a new generation is being born.
Climate disruption is a uniquely long, slow problem reaching far into the horizon, though we are already seeing catastrophic consequences. And as climate change progresses, it will bring more migration around our planet as parts of it become uninhabitable.
The only way someone is motivated to do something about climate change is by caring about the future — and that means caring about all of our children. If Americans cannot even care about what we are doing to children right now — if we stand by when our border patrol agents tell us that they are simply following orders from above — how on earth will we find the capacity to care about what will happen to the worlds’ children in twenty-five years?
To put it another way: Our moral environment and our physical environment are completely interconnected.
Doctors in the American Academy of Pediatrics are supporting a bill to keep families together. Please reach out to your senators and tell them Americans care about living in a country that treats children thoughtfully, carefully, and with compassion and respect.
We do not intend to stand by while America inflicts life-altering psychological wounds on innocents — that’s child abuse. And in witnessing it, we have a responsibility to try and stop it.