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Caging Children, Separating Families: Has the War on Immigration Gone Too Far?

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Sometimes you have to draw a line in the sand.

This is one of those moments.

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There are some acts so wrong-headed, so immoral, and so inhumane that they simply cannot be defended on any grounds.

Be warned: the White House's new "zero tolerance policy" for separating undocumented parents from their children at the border as a way of discouraging illegal immigration is pushing us into dangerous territory morally and otherwise.

Dragging young children kicking and crying and screaming from their parents, separating those children from their parents indefinitely, locking those children up in cages ("dog kennels") like animals, and subjecting them to the predators of the American police state: these are acts that no decent people should tolerate from their government.

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In McAllen, Texas, undocumented migrant children are being held in cages made out of wire and net. These children are sleeping on concrete floors with thin foil "space blankets" for a mattress.

In Brownsville, Texas, reportedly more than 1,000 children who have been separated from their parents are being held in a former Walmart facility with blacked-out windows that has been transformed into a detention center and is being run by a government contractor.

Bear in mind, there is no bedtime story for these children.

There are no parents nearby to protect them from the things that go bump in the night.

There is no assurance that they will ever be reunited with their parents again.

We all know what happens to children who are left alone to fend for themselves: there are predators of every sort, many of them on the government's payroll, looking to prey upon the young and vulnerable.

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In too many cases, these children are being trafficked, lost by the system, and rendered beyond the reach of their families.

You who are reading this, hold tight to your own children. They won't be yours for long if the government is allowed to prevail in its view that children of undocumented "criminals" automatically become wards of the state.

If you're inclined to advance this double standard because you believe you have done nothing wrong and have nothing to hide, beware: there's always a boomerang effect.

Whatever dangerous practices you allow the government to carry out now--whether it's in the name of national security or protecting America's borders or making America great again--rest assured, these same practices can and will be used against you when the government decides to set its sights on you.

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John W. Whitehead is an attorney and author who has written, debated and practiced widely in the area of constitutional law and human rights. Whitehead's aggressive, pioneering approach to civil liberties has earned him numerous accolades and (more...)
 

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