I spent a career (20-plus years) providing direct care to children separated from their families due to mental health, other medical reasons, neglect, abuse, incarceration, addiction and other family circumstances. So I am apt to look at events from the child’s perspective.

I am familiar with the trauma associated with separation for any of those reasons. This administration’s pursuit of a zero tolerance immigration policy which results in the separation of children from their parents seems (based on administration statements) to have two objectives. Both reasons use traumatizing children and their parents as a tactic.

Reason 1: To dissuade people from crossing the border. This is terrorism (my definition — acts intended to cause trauma/fear/anxiety in a target population).

Reason 2: To achieve a political outcome (inducing Democrats in Congress to vote for construction of a border wall, a feature the administration has required to sign any immigration plan. This is a hostage situation (my definition — holding people until another party complies with demands).

There is no justification for this, and it is a human rights violation. The people approaching our borders are not enemy combatants. We are not at war with those seeking asylum, safety or even opportunity. There is a statue named Liberty in New York Harbor inviting them, because that is our heritage.

I understand the need to limit who and how many may come. But this is not how it should be done. This is not just immoral. Inflicting trauma on children for no compelling reason is child abuse. It is abuse of power. It is a crime.

Roger Niesen

Crescent City