Former first lady Laura Bush has written an opinion piece in the Washington Post, calling the policy of separating children from the parents “heartbreaking.” She shared the piece to her official Twitter account.
“I live in a border state. I appreciate the need to enforce and protect our international boundaries, but this zero-tolerance policy is cruel. It is immoral. And it breaks my heart.”
The Bush family lives in Texas, the current frontline of the crisis. She noted that the government, of which her husband, former President George Bush, dedicated much of his life to serving, should not be in the business of warehousing children in converted box stores or in tent cities in the desert outside of El Paso.
“In the six weeks between April 19 and May 31, the Department of Homeland Security has sent nearly 2,000 children to mass detention centers or foster care. More than 100 of these children are younger than 4 years old.”
The images that have been seen on television and in newspapers of children being taken away from their parents have been as horrifying to much of the world as to the former first couple. So much so that she felt the need to speak out on the subject to one of the premier news outlets in the country.
Including women in all aspects of society strengthens a community & country. When women are educated, their families are more successful. At @TheBushCenter, George & I are working to empower women worldwide – this is our charge to keep. Join us & share yours using #MyChargetoKeep pic.twitter.com/Cr7kfyTi57
— Laura Bush (@laurawbush) April 13, 2018
“These images are eerily reminiscent of the Japanese American internment camps of World War II, now considered to have been one of the most shameful episodes in U.S. history.”
She noted the trauma that this inflicted on that generation’s health and warned that history is set to repeat itself if something doesn’t change quickly. Mrs. Bush also drew attention to the findings of Colleen Kraft, who heads the American Academy of Pediatrics, who visited one of the shelters run by the U.S. Office of Refugee Resettlement.
She pointed out that while they shelter has “beds, toys, crayons, a playground and diaper changes, the people working at the shelter had been instructed not to pick up or touch the children to comfort them. Imagine not being able to pick up a child who is not yet out of diapers.”
Mrs. Bush remembered the actions of another Mrs. Bush, her late mother-in-law Barbara, who broke barriers almost three decades ago when she held babies who had AIDS, showing true compassion in a crisis that scared people into thinking that touching these children could lead to a death sentence. Children need compassion.
“In 2018, can we not as a nation find a kinder, more compassionate and more moral answer to this current crisis? I, for one, believe we can.”