Families are being systematically torn apart, mistreated and marginalized by the institutions of a so-called “nation of immigrants” simply because they are perceived as the “wrong” kind of immigrant. As a first-generation American and the child of refugees, this is a personal matter. I think it should be a personal matter to everyone.

Children pay a steep cognitive, emotional and social price for our current immigration policies. Family separations can set the foundation for problems such as depression, anxiety, maladaptive behaviors, substance abuse and poverty, to name a few.

This is not a matter of politics, but of humanity. This is about children suffering and being neglected. This is about taking away the right of the parent to do the best they can for his or her child. I challenge readers to continue to educate themselves on the realities of this situation, and join the fight to end the mistreatment of migrant children and families.

Please consider supporting the Stop Cruelty to Migrant Children Act by contacting representatives in Congress. The purpose of this bill is to end the mistreatment of migrant children in custody, and provide standards for their health and safety.

Sophia Pino, Tacoma