I am so ashamed of my government. I wake up every morning thinking about the tormented faces of young immigrant children separated from their parents at the border and sent off to detention centers full of strangers as if they were criminals. It makes me physically sick, and it makes me angry and ashamed.

Nearly 2,000 children experienced this trauma between April 19 and the end of May, as the Trump administration implemented its new “zero tolerance” policy, arresting parents—or, as they prefer to call them—”alleged adult guardians,” pretending these parents are smuggling children across the border for nefarious purposes. At press time, there are 10,773 children in custody, scattered through a hundred shelters in 14 states.

Last week, Attorney General Jeff Sessions cited the Bible as justification for isolating and warehousing children as if they were stray animals. As many pointed out, the Bible verses he used in this twisted rationalization are the same that have been used to justify slavery and Nazis. It’s disgusting, it’s obscene, and it’s disgraceful.

Iowa Republican Rep. Steve King is another one who likes to pretend these migrants aren’t really families anyway. Last week, he told reporters he doesn’t believe the U.S. is under any obligation to keep migrant families together, saying, “I don’t see a reason to spend the money doing that. And I don’t see how you do that without having a suite for every self-described family unit.”

President Trump first blamed Democrats for his own policy, despite all evidence that this is a Trump decision and most definitely not a law that was promulgated by Democrats when they were in power. He tweeted, “The Democrats are forcing the breakup of families at the border with their horrible and cruel legislative agenda.” As usual, he makes no sense. His pronouncements are clearly bold-faced lies.

By last weekend, Trump was insisting that the policy is actually part of a brilliant political strategy to get Democrats to fund his multi-billion dollar border wall, acknowledging that he is consciously traumatizing young children to reach his political goals, using them as pawns in an absurd and immoral chess game.

Every Republican candidate in Nevada should be questioned every day about whether they support the president’s actions that are clearly damaging children and destroying families. It shouldn’t take courage to speak out against this travesty. These Republicans must not be allowed to obfuscate or avoid taking a position. Voters deserve to know. So what do you say, Adam Laxalt? Wes Duncan? Alexis and Ira Hansen? Heidi Gansert? Jill Tolles? Lisa Krasner? Jill Dickman? Ben Kieckhefer? Many of you have young children. What are you doing to stop this atrocity? Your silence is complicity.

The rest of us cannot become numb to this outrage. Here’s something we all can do. Attorney General Sessions is coming to Reno on Monday morning to speak at the National Association of School Resources Officers. A protest is planned beginning at 8 a.m. outside the Peppermill. It’s one way to demonstrate against Trump and Republicans who are inflicting unconscionable pain on migrant families. For more details visit the Facebook page Reno Rejects Sessions’ Hatred.

There is so much to be ashamed of in this administration, such as the embarrassing grifter running the EPA, Scott Pruitt, who is full of schemes to enrich himself while he lets corporations pollute our environment and pocket the profits, or the ongoing efforts to dismantle the Affordable Care Act, the latest devastating assault focused on the removal of the mandate to provide insurance without regard to pre-existing conditions, effectively taking away health insurance from hundreds of thousands of Americans. But this policy of separating young children from their parents is nothing less than cruel. It’s immoral. It’s evil.

What are you going to do to stop it?

Sheila Leslie

Sheila Leslie is a semi-retired human services professional who has lived in Reno for 45-plus years. A native Californian, she graduated from Sonoma State University and holds a master’s degree in Spanish...

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