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Our beacon to the world, flickering

A protester held a sign outside a closed gate at the Port of Entry facility June 21 in Fabens, Texas.Matt York/AP/Associated Press

Many organizations and officials have expressed concern over the separation of children from their parents at the Southern border. Here is an edited sample:

Throughout its history, our nation has persevered in the face of challenges and has triumphed over them. From the Revolutionary War and Civil War, to the two world wars, to the struggle for civil rights, we have often waved the torch of our faith in individual freedom as a beacon to the world.

It is shocking to see scenes of countless children inhumanely separated from their parents and held in detention centers at our borders — scenes that, historically, were witnessed in cruel dictatorial regimes that we fought and overcame.


As a nation of immigrants, most of us are here because of the words on the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty: “Send these, the homeless, the tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!” Regardless of the need to protect the security of all Americans, the recent enforcement by the current administration is nothing short of cruel and unusual punishment.

Boston Children’s Museum stands resolute in its support for the well-being of all children in the United States and around the globe. We reject inhumane treatment of any person anywhere, and ask cultural and educational institutions, businesses, and citizens to demand that our lawmakers act immediately to reverse the current injustice.

If we do not act now to end this crisis, the next time we look in the mirror or in the reflection of our children’s eyes, will we see someone who rightfully belongs in the “land of the free and the home of the brave”?

Nirav Dagli

Chairman, board of trustees

Carole Charnow

President & CEO

Boston Children’s Museum


Like many, I have been feeling angry and heartbroken watching what our great nation is doing to asylum seekers. Families seeking a better life are having their children taken away from them. This is not the America I know.


My family and I came to the United States from Cambodia in a similar way, seeking freedom and a better life.

I remember walking through a jungle in the dark as a 3-year old child, as my parents, praying they wouldn’t step on any land mines, begged us to stop crying so we wouldn’t be caught by patrolling soldiers and killed. Days later, we finally reached Thailand, where we were placed in a refugee camp.

Instead of hearing lullabies, we’d go to bed most nights to the sounds of gunfire and bombs exploding. Our parents talked about their escape plans — which child they would take and where they would meet if they were to be separated. It became normal for us to run into a hole we had dug beneath the floor of our home to hide from the Thai soldiers when they raided. We lived like this for five or six years, praying every day that we would have the opportunity to immigrate to America.

Wednesday was International Refugee Day. I am reminded just how fortunate I was to escape with my family. I am grateful that the United States welcomed us with open arms; I am grateful for the opportunities that our great nation provided to us, allowing us to live the American dream.

Today, I doubt that we would be welcome at all.


Bopha Malone


The writer is a candidate for Congress in the Third District.

We fully support your article “Child health specialists worry about lasting emotional trauma” (Page A9, June 20). We stand with our colleagues represented by the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, the American Psychiatric Association, the American Psychological Association, and the National Association of Social Workers and their responses to the detrimental practice of separating children from their parents at the Southern US border.

As a group of child psychiatrists and social workers who consult with pediatric practices statewide to improve mental health outcomes for children in Massachusetts, we vehemently oppose and condemn as child abuse the cruel and unusual practice of separating children from their parents. This action is harmful to children and their families and leaves a most vulnerable population without their parents during an already stressful time. We strongly urge the administration to redress this practice immediately and begin the process of reuniting families.

Dr. John H. Straus

Founding director

Dr. Barry Sarvet

Medical director

Massachusetts Child Psychiatry Access Program