Kostin: Why I Have Zero Tolerance for Trump’s Immigration Policy

Letter to the editor submitted by Laura Kostin, Democratic candidate for State Rep, district 151

There comes a time when, as citizens of this great nation, we are compelled to speak out on behalf of those who are voiceless.  For me, this is that time.  I cannot remain silent while innocent children are removed from the only security networks they have on American soil… their parents.

These children have committed no crime.   They were brought here by their loved ones, who sought safer lives for them.  Their parents, if illegally entering for the first time, have committed a misdemeanor.  Conviction is grounds for deportation.  According to a former ICE official, some of those parents may be deported while their childrens’ cases are still pending, rendering their separation permanent. Over a misdemeanor.

My reaction to this visceral. My Armenian ancestors, who fled the Caucuses, arrived on Ellis Island via a ship called the La Bretagne.  They were Christians desperate to escape persecution at the hands of the Ottoman Turks.  Years later, those who stayed became victims of what would become the first genocide of the 20th century.  Millions were slaughtered.  If they were not murdered quickly, they were forced onto death marches into the desert without food or water.  The atrocities that befell the Armenians occurred far from our shores.  But those who made it here, remained together with their living family members.  Their only caregivers. Their only support systems. The only ones who would provide for them.

Those who are crossing our border now, fleeing violence in their homelands came here only to be cruelly separated from those support systems. The only ones who can provide them comfort.  Some of them so small, they are still nursing.  Some of them, in glorified cages.

To me, as a human being, a mother, a descendant of genocide survivors, the President’s zero-tolerance immigration policy is offensive.  It should offend us all.

I’m hopeful that the President is taking steps to “solve” this.  But how he allowed trauma to be inflicted on children for so long, to punish their parents is something only he can answer for.  The buck stops with him.