It’s time for citizenship educators to speak up

This is a personal note from Lynne Weintraub, host of CitizenshipNews.

The newest anti-immigration initiatives from Washington make me heartsick. In particular, it's difficult for me to read about immigrant children being separated from their parents without crying.

I believe that there is a role that citizenship educators can play to in opposing these barbaric practices. The letter below was just printed in my local paper. I invite you to write something similar and send it to your hometown paper, post it on your blog, or share it in any way you are comfortable:

Desperate families fleeing violence in Central America arrived at the United States border, and instead of processing their asylum claims, (our obligation under international law), the U.S. Department of Homeland Security locked them up, tore away the children, and transported them to unknown locations to be detained indefinitely.

As any parent will tell you, these actions are beyond cruel — they constitute a profound human rights violation. The people who sent the orders, and the DHS workers and for-profit subcontractors who carried them out, deserve condemnation and prosecution. When it comes to human rights violations, no one can morally claim that they are “just following orders.”

How ironic that when immigrants apply for U.S. citizenship, the very same agency, DHS, screens every one of them for involvement in human rights abuses such as torture, detaining others against their will, or persecuting people on the basis of race or national origin.

I think we can all agree that the perpetrators of such abuses should not be welcomed into American society. But what do we do about the monsters who have been committing these same abuses with our tax dollars, and in our name?

Lynne Weintraub

(If you would like to see my letter in print, look here: