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When faced with two women who each claimed to be the mother of the same child, King Solomon announced that he would slice the child in two and give half to each claimant.

One woman was pleased. The other wailed in sorrow, and begged the king to give the child to her opponent.

Solomon immediately understood that the woman who wanted to save the child even though it meant she’d lose him was the true mother.

Christine Flowers mug

Flowers

There are no Solomons among us today.

Children are once again being used as pawns and commodities in our national immigration debate, and the adults are fighting to gain philosophical and political advantage at their expense. The battles are waged on social media, on the pages of our national and local newspapers, in our homes and, most regrettably, in the halls of Congress.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez calls the detention centers that hold immigrant children “concentration camps,” evoking the ghosts of millions of dead Jews, and she is rightly criticized by all decent people for that manipulation of history and language.

While the literal term “concentration camp” could be stretched to include a facility where people are not able to leave and are held in temporary housing until their legal status is established, the congresswoman’s intention was to equate what is going on at the border with Nazi death camps. This was not lost on the United States Holocaust Museum, whose spokesperson noted that it “unequivocally rejects efforts to create analogies between the Holocaust and other events, whether historical or contemporary.”

But the fact remains that children are being held in places where they are not getting enough food, water, clean clothing, blankets, hygienic items and — most importantly — contact with caring humans.

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President Donald Trump points to the fact that his predecessor was the one who initiated a program that separated children from their parents, which is technically true. But when you dig a little deeper, you realize that Obama’s plan was sporadic, while the Trump administration made a sustained policy decision to separate families as a disincentive to cross the border.

Congress dithers about solving the crisis at the border, with one side insisting on pouring money into a wall and refusing to engage in good-faith solutions for legalization, while the other side calls their opponents racists, evoking imagery of Nazi camps.

And then, when the House finally reaches a consensus about funding to provide the detained children with the necessities we regularly give to prisoners and accused terrorists at Guantanamo, only a handful of Republicans voted in favor of the bill because the package didn’t include anything for border security.

Then late Thursday, the Senate’s version of the bill was signed onto by a reluctant Nancy Pelosi, guaranteeing that some money and support will reach the children.

And this is where I realize that neither side in this debate has any incentive to find a solution to the crisis that is ripping this country to shreds.

This controversy is deep and wide and burning, echoing the rift our ancestors confronted over slavery, and it is already leaving scars that will not fade even with the therapeutic balm of legislation and reconciliation. The detained children are the canaries in the coal mine of our national morality, and seeing them in this sustained state of crisis and neglect says some troubling things about who we are content to be.

It is fair to worry about the larger, overarching policy issues when discussing immigration. But this moment is not about partisanship. Our recent historical past shows that there is enough blame to go around. And when we start pointing fingers at one side and give the other a pass, the immigrants are the ones who end up suffering.

There should be no question that a country that turns its back on children for political gamesmanship is not the type of country any of us should be proud to call our own.

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Christine M. Flowers is a lawyer and columnist for the Philadelphia Daily News. Readers may send her email at cflowers1961@gmail.com.

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(10) comments

Redwall

They are not children. They are votes. And they are accompanied by many more votes. Just because it is cynical doesnt mean its not true.

oldhomey

I find Ms. Flowers' reasoning a bit curious. She concedes that the whole debacle of separating and withholding children at the border from their parents as being an historically reprehensible act. It might not be quite as bad as the Nazi concentration camps, but it is a horror that nonetheless will be remembered in history as one of our blackest marks. Then she accuses the Democrats as being as eager as the Republicans to prolong this horror show for their own political ends. Funny. I have seen scant evidence of that. They have bee fighting pretty hard to end this policy, so far as I can see, and have even accepted an inferior Senate bill in order to get desperately needed resources to the border to alleviate some of the worst and most senseless deprivations being visited upon the children. The next stage now is to stop this practice of separation and to humanely treat these families as they should be treated in respect to international law and as you would expect a moral Judeo-Christian society to treat oppressed, terrified people trying to salvage a better life for their children as they escape lawless terrorism in their home countries. Ms. Flowers usually is better than this, but not today.

new2Lax

Risking your child's life to come, be separated and be put in a concentration camp, seems intentionally cruel and what parent would do that. They know ahead of time the consequences could and most likely will be dire and they seem willing to risk it. The incentive clearly seems to be the lack of immigration and a realistic asylum laws. What the Democrats actually want is open borders and are willing to put American lives at risk. Democrats supporting this by themselves would be a good idea and if they sponsored these illegals most would not have a problem with it, the American taxpayer should not be asked to pay for illegals entering the country from any where in the world. These are just stepping stones to Socialism, if you just look back a few years you can identify each step and the mission will be complete when we look more like a Venezuela or some other failed State. If you watched any of the Democrat debates you see covering illegals is now a common place thought and was just a lie a short time ago, 30 million not covered by insurance was a mortal sin just a while back and now kicking 180 million people off insurance provided and negotiated for in union contracts, in which insurance coverage was preferred over a wage increase, now is not even a problem. The left will continue to use every asset people worked a lifetime for to get and keep control of the people.

martian2

oh blow it out your back end fox news newt. These immigrants have no idea ahead of time what the consequences are. They assume they will be treated humanely. Desperate people do desperate things when their families lives are at stake you idiot. Your ramblings have no basis in truth. It is this administration policy to be unusually cruel and inhumane to these immigrants. And they tried to justify it in a court of law. Your idiot talking points from fox aren't even worth commenting on. and your ramblings about insurance is incoherent, a second grader could write better.

johnnybragatti

Exceptionally spot -on !!!! Seems dr. demento,/ Exlax-too, is losing more gray matter as we speak. Insurance ???? All you can do is laugh. His anger over never making it very far in life, is bubbling over and meanwhile ,his rage makes him appear as a bumbling oaf.

Rick Czeczok

Wow another drug induced comment made from mommy's basement. Stop taking drugs, they have your brain fried.....

johnnybragatti

Excellently spot on !!! Seems dr.demento/Exlaxtoo ,has got his stories mixed about, as usual. Comprehension of reality and how it may be important...ain"t his forte., much like the orange carcass.

capedcrusader

He ought to just send for the FOX transcripts everyday.

capedcrusader

You sir are ignorant. How soon you forget grasshopper, we are a nation of immigrants. You suppose all of those came legally? What parent would do that you ask? Perhaps parents that are more worried about their childrens (and their) lives more so than where they are headed. You are lucky you never had to flee those conditions. Stop acting so spoiled. Lack of immigration laws ? Have you looked at them? Another Republican who wants more government intervention and yet claim you want less government. "What the Democrats actually want is open borders and are willing to put Americans lives at risk". That may be the stupidest comment of yours yet. Stop getting all your news from the Rush and FOX propagandists.

martian2

Truman had on his desk a little sign that said "the buck stops here." Many presidents after him did not adhere to that statement instead choosing to blame predecessors for their own stupid decisions. Trump never did learn in his life to take responsibility for anything, he always lashed out at those who criticized his actions or decisions. He never admitted a mistake in his life. Same as president, a narcissist is incapable of doing that. Locking up children without meeting their basic needs and then try to defend such action in court (Ms flowers forgot to mention that part) is inexcusable. As she said, even the worst convicted prisoners gets better treatment. So lets put the buck squarely where it belongs, on the desk of Donald Trump. He is the one in office, his administration made the decisions, he is the one who degrades those immigrants from sh*t hole countries as he says. Look no further than the white house for the reason of the moral decay in this country. OH but my 401k is doing splendidly!

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