Immigrant children separated from families
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Please Don't Take My Sunshine Away

Protestors bring a ray of hope to illegal immigrant families

Please Don't Take My Sunshine Away
Maggie Ward

You are my sunshine. My only sunshine.

My mom used to sing me this song when I was little. She said it reminded her of her mom, a brave woman who lost her battle to breast cancer in 2008. My mom has always been there for me. To share every joy and wipe every tear. I can't imagine my life without her.

In April 2018 President Trump instituted a zero tolerance policy on immigration. This policy's goal was to send a strong message to future as well as current illegal immigrants. A message of hate. A message of fear. A message of ignorance.

This message hasn't been embraced by Americans. On June 30, 2018 hundreds of thousands of protestors marched in major cities across the United States to protest children being separated from their illegal immigrant parents. Even though a federal judge imposed a 30 day deadline on the Trump Administration to reunite families, protestors demanded action now. They wanted families reunited as soon as possible. Protestors also demanded that the practices of detaining families and enforcing the zero tolerance policy end immediately.

You make me happy when skies are grey.

"It's gonna be ok." My mom strokes my hair as I lay sobbing on her lap. A mother's love at its finest. Her calm voice and loving nature gives me strength. Her words of wisdom slowly make the world all right again.

One of my friends from college attended one of the protests that called for an end to the zero-tolerance policy in Washington D.C. When I asked her why she went she responded, "I think family separation is one of the most jarring and detrimental things you can do to somebody, especially a child." The American Academy of Pediatrics agrees and says that the jarring experience of separating children from their families can have life changing effects on the childrens' health. These effects last a lifetime and include being at a higher risk for developing disorders like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, and depression.

Could these life changing health risks be linked to a lack of parental comfort? When a parent physically comforts their child, a chemical known as oxytocin is released in the child's brain. According to researchers, oxytocin helps to reduce stress and anxiety. Without their parents to comfort them, the children of illegal immigrants are forced to find other ways to manage the stress brought on by being torn from their families.

You'll never know dear how much I love you.

When I was a child, every time I told my mom how much I loved her she would counter with, "I love you more." Empathy is a part of love. Disagreeing with another's political views should not take away our human ability to empathize with others. No matter what our backgrounds, no matter what our current circumstances, shouldn't we as a society try and foster a country that respects the rights of others?

Please don't take my sunshine away.

As the days roll into years, I will remember these days the next time I am at a voting station. I will remember the wails of the children ripped from their parents' arms. I will remember my friend protesting the injustice that she saw. More importantly, I will remember that I am an American and I have the ability to stop this.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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