The recent news and images reporting the cruel and senseless separation of immigrant children from their parents and family members are beyond heartbreaking. As an organization that represents Latinas, we are deeply disturbed with President Trump and his administration’s “zero-tolerance” migrant policy at the U.S.-Mexico border, and their tactics in dealing with immigrants as a whole.

All children are innocent regardless of their status in the United States.  These families are facing unsafe, violent and sometimes life-threatening circumstances in their home countries.  Additionally, they are living in extreme poverty and are left with no other choice but to flee out of pure fear and desperation. It is disheartening to see how society has allowed their inner anger and hatred towards certain cultures overpower their sense of compassion and empathy towards the critical situations these families are enduring.

“Until you are faced with the debilitating sense of fear and desperation, you should not judge or condemn the decisions these families have to make,” said Sara Peña, President of LUPE Fund.

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We understand and are not disputing that everyone has to follow the law. However, many migrants are seeking asylum which is a human right, only to arrive at the border to be detained. Although Trump recently signed an executive order to end family separation, he replaced it with a policy of detaining entire families together, including children, while ignoring legal time limits on the detention of minors. It is unconscionable that thousands of families still do not know when they will be reunited, and innocent children are suffering due to this administration’s incomprehensible enforcement of the “zero-tolerance” policy. The harm being caused to these families and children, and to our nation, is irreparable.

Instead of focusing on detaining migrants at the border, the federal government should use its resources to find solutions to improve conditions in other countries so that its people do not feel the need to leave in the first place, and perhaps, practice compassion while we are at it.