By Harry Leibowitz, PhD
World of Children Co-Founder and Co-Chair
I have to say that I was offended by the government’s argument in the court case about reuniting children who were separated from their families before the July 2018 ruling. To me, children are NOT DISPOSABLE, but according to this attorney, the challenge to the government would “… blow the case into some other galaxy of a task.” He called the notion a “seismic shift” and a “dramatic change.” 1
Let me make this very easy and simple so that the “galaxy” he is talking about is reachable.
Instead of allocating $5.7 billion to build a wall, let’s allocate it to reuniting children with their families. It is not only the humane thing to do—the moral thing to do—it is also our government’s OBLIGATION to do so since they separated them in the first place.
Nobody knows for sure how many children we are talking about because the government alphabet soup of agencies did not keep track. You had ICE, HHS, DHS, ACF, CWS and a dozen others involved.
Nonetheless, let’s assume it is as high as 10,000 children. With $5.7 billion, the government could allocate $570,000 to reunite each family. I could hire an army of investigators for $570,000 per family. In fact with just 10% of that money ($570 million or $57,000 per child), I believe we could reunite every family and still have over $5 billion for the Trump Memorial Wall.
It is a simple example of Occam’s Razor … simple assumptions … bricks and mortar or a child’s life? Barbed-wire barriers or the rights of a family? “A beautiful wall” or a beautiful family?
What is the true national emergency here? I believe it is the lives of human beings, children and families, and, frankly, I do not care if the rest of the funds are spent on a wall, or a spaceship to get to the “galaxy” the attorney for the government alludes to.
This is about children and families and for the government to make a case that it cannot afford to reunite them after it separated them, is not just “theater of the absurd” … it is a “galaxy of the absurd.”
Harry Leibowitz founded World of Children 21 years ago and he is broadly respected as an advocate for the world’s most vulnerable children. He has been awarded the Ellis Island Medal of Honor, The Procter & Gamble Humanitarian Award, and with his wife and co-founder, Kay, he was featured as one of the five couples “Changing Philanthropy in America” on Huffington Post.