Immigrant Children? What About American Children?

The American public needs to stop selective outrage.

By Published on June 19, 2018

It seems as if overnight the world has been consumed with a new movement calling for an end to the separation of immigrant children from their mothers at the border, but have we forgotten our own children?

Every year thousands of American women, U.S. citizens, born and raised on this land, have been forcefully separated from their children and sent off to various prisons throughout the nation while their children fall under the jurisdiction of government agencies like the Department of Family and Children Services. In some cases, the women are lucky enough to have family that will take care of their children until they complete their prison terms, but what about American women who don’t have families willing to assume this responsibility?

Sometimes, women serving long prison sentences have their children adopted out, and the records are sealed. This leaves mothers, once released from prison, at the start of a long and often unsuccessful journey to find their own flesh and blood. Where is the outrage over these children being separated from their mothers?

You might say that those being sent to jail have committed crimes and should be sent to prison. And you would be right. But just as it would be wrong to discard the crimes being committed by American women simply to keep them with their children, it is equally misguided to advocate discarding the crimes of those breaking the law to come into this country illegally just so families can be kept together. Tossing the law aside is not the answer. The answer lies in reform; reform of the immigration system and reform of the prison system.

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The situation causing the “children being torn from the parents’ arms” lament was created by laws proposed and passed by Democrats. So, too, were many of the laws causing our current criminal justice crisis, including laws more heavily enforced on black offenders, private prisons that prioritize profit over humanity, and harsher sentences for first offenders.

Meet Angela

Case in point: Angela Stanton, a young woman I have been mentoring for the last twelve years, is a national bestselling author and television personality for BET-HER’s new reality show From the Bottom Up. Before she found her recent success she spent some time in and out of Georgia prisons, involved in a life of crime with defamed reality TV star Phaedra Parks of Bravo’s Real Housewives of Atlanta.

On her last stint in lockup, she found herself handcuffed to a bed while giving birth to her fifth child, all while a sheriff’s deputy stood nearby, watching in amazement. Twenty-four hours later Angela was separated from her newborn and sent back to a cold cement block cell. Hemorrhaging, and with only three pads a day, she improvised by using her white t-shirts as sanitary napkins and cleaning them by washing them out in the jail toilet. The experience of being separated from her child at birth left Angela depressed and suicidal.

Children Ripped from Their Mothers Through Abortion

There are even more children whom those outraged over immigrant children have kept silent about for decades – those who are ripped from their mother’s wombs in abortion. Where is the outrage over these children?

Who’s to blame for snatching American babies from the arms and wombs of their parents? We all are.

Our children are our future and we, as a society, need to do all we can to ensure they have the best chance at a good life. That best chance begins with the family.

As everyone across the country and throughout our government is focused on mothers and children, this is the moment to advocate for all babies. Clearly we need immigration reform, and just as clearly, we need prison reform. But the first change I would like to see is a nation that welcomes children across the border of the womb, rather than demanding the right to deny that child the rights he or she is entitled to as a member of the human family.

Today is Juneteenth and a great opportunity to begin to fight for the freedom of all those enslaved by unjust laws. Let’s work together to save all children. Their lives matter. Pray for America’s children too!



Alveda C. King is a Christian evangelist and civil rights activist and is also known for her creative contributions in film, music, politics, education and journalism. She is also the guardian of the King Family Legacy.

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  • Sapient

    Well said.

    • michael

      I’m outraged by both . You can’t be pro-life if you aren’t concerned about the children after they are born.

      • Bryan

        Didn’t the author say it was appropriate to be outraged by both? (Actually three different situations: Jail, Abortion, & Immigration.)

        • Navy76

          Yes, that is exactly what Ms. King wrote.

  • Dave

    Applying for asylum isn’t a crime.

    • Bryan

      Of course not. I don’t believe anyone, certainly not this particular article, is suggesting that. Skipping out on your asylum hearing is a crime. Technically, so is seeking asylum in a country that’s not the next safe country from your home country. But, again, isn’t that off the topic of this article? There are several other articles on this site that address the legality of the situation.

      • Dave

        “Skipping out on your asylum hearing is a crime. Technically, so is seeking asylum in a country that’s not the next safe country from your home country.”

        Those aren’t crimes either, pal. It’s interesting. There are so many valid arguments against illegal immigration and for border protection, yet some people still lie to support their position. I guess it’s just the nature of anti-immigrant fanatics.

        • Dennis Neylon

          Not showing up for a scheduled court hearing is a crime. Try it sometime and see what happens when the judge writes a bench warrant.

  • Paul

    In America, America First!

  • Jed

    The left doesn’t care about the kids of US citizens separated from parents
    because it has no narrative use in our progression to socialism.

    The right doesn’t care about those children because of a mis-placed trust in and loyalty to the “rule of law.”

    Agitation and apathy were the two main ingredients that allowed
    5% of the Russian citizenry steamroll the other 95% into Bolshevism.

    And it’s coming here. Just took a century and some spare change.

  • Charamaine McKnight

    Let’s not justify what is happening at our border with parent prisoners in America; opposed to just calling it out. Our immigration laws need to be fixed, and the enforcement of those laws need to be carrying out with compassion, as per our first lady. I had served in a Prison Ministry for years ministering to Women held in one of our country’s largest detention center. I can tell you that most if not of all the women I had came in contact with knows where their children are. And, many of those children are with relatives, and even if a child/children have been placed in foster care, upon released, parents are reunited with their children in most cases. Refer to HHS Reunification Policy: “Foster care is not forever. Children and youth can and do return home to their families. In fact, this is the most common outcome. And therefore, getting the family safely back together—is almost always the first goal and in your child’s best interest.” The only time, that a child isn’t reunited with their parent/s is if doing so, poses a threat or harm to the child.

    Once a American detentee is released, they don’t faced imminent danger which is the situation with Asylum seekers nor do they lose their child. In that some of Asylum Seekers are being deported without being reunited with their child/s. Don’t get me wrong, I am not in agreement with breaking laws, on the contrary, as a resident of a border state of 20 years, I know the importance and need for border security first hand. But, does their crime (misdemeanor) fit their punishment?

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