Last year Sen. Susan Collins shepherded the nomination of Jeff Sessions through the Senate confirmation process. She assured fellow senators – and us – that Sessions would make an ethically exemplary holder of that office.

Recently Attorney General Sessions implemented a new policy regarding immigrants who arrived at our southern border: Those bringing children with them would have those children taken away, while the parents would be sent to prison to await trial on a misdemeanor charge of illegal entry. The separation period could last for many months. Often neither the children nor the parents would know where the other was being held. So far nearly 650 children have been affected by this policy.

There is a consensus among developmental psychologists that the trauma of forcible separation from their parents causes children to suffer lasting damage to their sense of trust in others – particularly those responsible for caring for and protecting them. An attorney general who is so cruel and lacking in moral judgment that he is willing to inflict permanent damage on children in order to punish their parents is disgracing not only his office but all of us.

Because of Sen. Collins’ leading role in making Jeff Sessions the attorney general, she bears a singular responsibility for speaking out in opposition to this policy. Will she speak out, or will she be complicit in allowing this shameful, un-American program to continue?

Kim Matthews

Westbrook


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