It’s long past time we rose up and, with one voice, express our outrage at the treatment of immigrant children and demand immediate changes — today, not tomorrow.
We should accept no excuses — like lack of enough money or staffing — even if it means temporarily reassigning federal employees and going into debt. Better yet, perhaps the courts could insist on taking over Trump’s hotels, including Mar-a-Lago, to house these children until reunited with families. The staff could act as temporary caregivers.
It is equally important to locate parents or families of each child and reunite them immediately. We should accept no excuses. If this means sending people south of the border to locate those deported parents and returning them for the reunion, then we need to do that.
As to the present conditions in the shelters — no child should be left with unchanged diapers or go without a daily bath — period! Think of the skin problems that heat would cause. Also appalling is the lack of medical care. I hear there are cases of contagious diseases among those in the shelters without any way to isolate them. The lack of proper diet for children in their formative years causes brain damage and is unforgivable.
Each baby and toddler should be cared for by an adult, 24/7, according to the same standards of care demanded by law for day care and emergency care of our own children. Every detention facility should meet those same standards.
I don’t care, at this point, who is responsible for the current situation. The time for action is now. The time to place blame is after the problem is solved. We can’t wait for that. I’m sick and tired of lame excuses for what is happening. It happened! Do something!
I realize this situation escalated suddenly and caught us unprepared, but I see that as no excuse for the situation continuing — even escalating. We’ve had time to find solutions. At the start of World War II, we mobilized quickly on a much grander scale and got the job done. We ramped up our production of munitions, uniforms, ships, planes, tanks, jeeps and myriad other products. The personnel needed was recruited to fight this war in a remarkably short time. We have had several years of this escalating problem without nearly the dedication and efficiency displayed. I don’t accept the argument that we, the richest and most productive on Earth, lack the resources to deal with this humanely and effectively.
At the end of the war, we took in refugees and helped rebuild Europe on a grand scale; even our enemies were put back on their feet. What has happened to our humanity and our compassion that we can’t do the same for these refugees fleeing danger and poverty?
Someone in government should have been in contact with wholesalers years ago and purchased diapers, baby clothes, wet wipes, soap, towels, laundry facilities, bedding and cots, and enough good food to give each child a proper nourishing diet and the dishes and eating tools and preparation equipment for sanitary handling. We often had advance notice of the arrival of large numbers so have no excuse for being so ill-prepared. We knew these people had little more possessions than the clothes on their backs plus what they could carry — along with small children too young to walk so far. The need for this kind of help should have been obvious and preparations made.
What we are witnessing is a colossal degree of inhumane behavior. This isn’t a new situation. How could we have allowed this to develop the way it has. I’m ashamed or our country. This is no way to make America great again. Our international reputation is at stake and it will take years to restore it, but that will only happen if we take appropriate remedial action now.
Lenna Harding lived her first 20 and past 43 years in Pullman. A longtime League of Women Voters member, she served on the Gladish Community and Cultural Center board. Reach her at email@example.com.