As a person of faith who believes in the basic human dignity of all people, especially the most vulnerable among us, I am appalled by recent reports of the cruel and inhumane treatment of migrant children held in U.S. custody.

How do we justify requiring children to sleep on cold concrete or depriving them of basic necessities such as soap, toothbrushes and blankets? These children (some only 7 or 8) are stepping up to care for babies and toddlers.

The moral bankruptcy of our immigration policies is on full display for all to see. Separating parents and children as a strategy to deter families from fleeing the violence, repression and economic hardship of their home countries will never succeed. If we want to stem the flow of immigrants to the United States, we should address the factors that make life intolerable for them, including U.S. support for repressive governments and destructive economic policies in their home countries.

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