Deidre Silverman: Child Separation

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The Trump administration’s policy of separating children from parents seeking refugee status remains among its most controversial, and now hundreds of parents can’t be located. Deidre Silverman has this Perspective.

When I was a young girl, growing up in Sydney, Australia, my mother took me to the county children’s hospital for what, she said, was a visit. The matron at the admitting desk entertained me with desk toys and games, but when I turned to show my mother, she was walking out of the ward. I tried to run after her, but the matron held me back as I cried loudly. I couldn’t understand what was happening to me and why. One week later, my mother returned. I remember reaching up to take her hand and held on.

I realized later that my young parents didn’t quite know how to prepare me ahead of time for a hospital stay, so I was left at the children’s ward with no understanding of what was happening in my life. Now, many decades later, I have never forgotten that event: those walls, the gated crib and the other young patients calling me a cry-baby …  as I cried for hours.

One week later my parents returned; I was discharged. Thankfully, I was left with no emotional scars, but I’ve never forgotten the painful memories of that week.

Fast forward to the thousands of immigrant children separated from their parents at our southern border the result of a wayward immigration policy. Though the separations were legally stopped over a year ago, many of these children still remain separated from their families and held in harsh, overcrowded, unsanitary facilities across the nation. Family contact information has either been lost or misplaced, leaving the children, many of a very young age, afraid, unsure and alone.

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America is better than this, and while we flounder nationally amid a viral crisis of world proportion, let us never forget that the moral fiber of a nation rests with its attitude and treatment of the young, defenseless children in our midst.

With a Perspective, I'm Deidre Silverman.

Deidre Silverman lives in San Rafael.