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Letter to the editor: Separating children from parents did not make border more secure


| Fargo

It appears the Trump administration finally ended its policy of separating families at the border. After weeks of heartbreaking news stories and thousands of social media messages, President Trump heard what most Americans have been saying since the policy was announced; This is not who we are.

Over 2,300 children, some as young as 3 months old, were taken from their parents and now are in “out of view” detention centers across the country. All of us parents would be distressed by a child being ripped from our arms. In addition, many of these families are fleeing terrible conditions and thought they could find peace in the United States. Instead, they were thrown in a makeshift jail and watched their loved ones dragged away. My education as a child welfare social worker informs me that every child will carry the effects of this trauma for the rest of their lives.

And what was the point? Did it make our border more secure? Absolutely not. Are Americans safer because babies were locked up in “tender age shelters?” No. This policy was about bringing pain to families to scare other mothers, fathers, and children.

As disappointing as seeing children detained under an American flag is how many elected Republicans fell in line and supported this policy. With our country’s reputation as a safe place on the line, they sided with baby-snatching until the people and religious leaders demanded an end to this cruelty.

We are better than this.

(Mathern, a Democrat who represents District 11 in the North Dakota Legislature, has a master’s degree in social work from the University of Nebraska and has worked for a child welfare agency, Catholic Charities of ND, for 25 years. He has served on human service committees in the North Dakota Legislature for 32 years. )