Our VoiceImmigration

Millions of Children Depend on Compassionate Change


Jill Garvey • Nov 19, 2009

The United States risks forsaking millions of children.

When hate groups are permitted to guide national policy and social attitudes, we abandon the most vulnerable of Americans: children existing at the socially constructed fringes of our society.

Recently, anti-immigrant groups, groups like FAIR and Center for Immigration Studies, have released a rash of opinion pieces in mainstream newspapers across our nation.

Of course, those amongst their ranks enjoy “sharing” their views on varied topics; however, when it comes to compassion for other human beings, their collective silence is amongst their most deplorable slurs.

Here’s a challenge for you: listen closely to the most fervent of the anti-immigrant mouthpieces and try to detect even one note of concern for the millions of children whose hopes and dreams hang on the realization of rational immigration reform. 

Anti-immigrant groups never distress themselves with disadvantaged children in this country. Their arguments imply that extending compassion to the vulnerable will irrevocably damage our nation.

But why is this damage so inevitable?

Why don’t they ever consider, even for a moment, what neglecting these children loses us as a nation?

Furthermore, how can we expect America’s future generations to grow into “decent” adults if we — their standards for living — do not demonstrate compassion?

If we condemn millions to broken families, we lose. If we deny sick children access to medicine, we lose. If we shoulder eager students away from higher education, as a nation we lose our integrity as a nation, our moral compass as a nation, and our capability as a nation to exist in collectively compassionate ways.

And as a nation we must recognize that these children do not stand alone; they are inexorably linked to mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles, their friends down the street, their communities, to America.

Exaggerated statistics concerning the economy or the environment/resources cannot undo these basic truths.

And the actions advocated by anti-immigrant groups like FAIR and Center for Immigration Studies will divide millions of families who have already traversed the hardships of migration and displacement.

So many of these children have experienced more separation than most of us ever will. Anti-immigrant leaders, however, are just too busy exploiting the fears of Americans to consider the well-being of children.

The moment is fast approaching when we must answer yet another difficult question: will we as individuals help to unite families or to divide them?

Americans, yes, are independent, free-thinking, and hard-working – but are we not also kind?

Every child in this nation deserves a united family, medical treatment when ill, a sense of an inclusive, safe community, and on and on. Every child growing up here deserves their chance to realize the American dream.

Anti-immigrant groups must step aside and allow rational lawmakers, those guided by and representing moral Americans, to reform immigration.

We must fix our system now. Our children depend on it.

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