What America does next matters

It’s safe to say that most Americans are deeply concerned about the ongoing plight of the children of illegal immigrants, regardless of their opinions about how the immigration issue in general should finally shake out.

The mental and emotional terror — indeed, horror — that the children are experiencing as a result of separation from their parents and not knowing what the future holds is an experience that no child should have to endure.

The conscience of America is being tested, and this country must not, in the end, find itself regretting how the issue has ended up being resolved — or how long it has taken to put the issue to rest.

Mature, compassionate, committed thinking and problem-solving skills must jump to the forefront immediately.

Some points for every adult to consider as this humanitarian crisis unconscionably drags on:

– When you were a child shopping with your parents in some cavernous department store and strayed from them, what were your feelings when you looked around and they were nowhere in sight? Were there tears streaming down your cheeks? How uncontrollable was your anxiety?

– Were you ever upset at your parents and decided to run away from home, got to the first street corner and, not knowing where to go from there, were struck suddenly by fright and uncertainty — and decided that the problem at home really wasn’t as bad as you had perceived it to be?

– Did fear and anxiety overtake you on your first day of school or kindergarten, to the point that you shed tears, because Mom and Dad weren’t — and wouldn’t — be there?

– Were you a child in a family that became torn apart by parents’ separation or divorce, a parent’s incarceration or, worse, the death of one or both parents? Did you feel like your life might be shattered permanently as a result of what occurred, and you experienced sorrow and panic about what every day ahead might bring?

The purpose of this editorial is not to toss spears of criticism and blame regarding this disturbing issue; national commentators and other pundits are consumed with providing a full analysis of every new detail, utterance or excuse.

Nevetheless, there are a couple of important points to be made — points that have not been emphasized enough in recent days.

– If there were an adequate photographic record of which child belongs to which parents, with proper identifying information, there would not now be so many children facing so many terrible uncertainties.

– Badly needed is someone in the government capable and willing to issue an order that this big problem, despite its monstrous size, be resolved within an expeditious, reasonable, stated time frame — no excuses permitted.

This stain on America’s reputation must be wiped away without any further delay.