As an elder, I am horrified as I learn more and more about how our government is treating immigrants at our southern border, especially families and children. Families are still being separated and children are being detained in totally inadequate, unsafe, unsanitary, and abusive situations. A number of immigrants, including at least seven children, have died while in the custody of immigration officials.

Doctors, psychologists and child welfare experts affirm that even relatively brief time in detention is damaging to children’s mental and physical health. Separation from parents or familiar caregivers is also hugely traumatic for children. It is hard to imagine how these children will ever recover from the emotional and physical neglect and abuse they are experiencing in detention. It is against basic American values that our government is treating any children this way.

Recently the Trump administration announced new rules that would allow immigration officials to detain migrant children indefinitely, ripping up a long-standing set of protections that prevent migrant children from being detained for more than 20 days. This rule change gives an even freer hand to profit-making detention centers to neglect and abuse their charges.

This immoral policy and practice must end immediately.

Molly Brown

Mount Shasta