It’s nice that Attorney General Bill Barr got to sample some of that “delicious” chicken, fish, green beans and potatoes that inmates at a South Carolina prison have to eat. It’s nice that he got to talk to a prison psychologist about the trauma of incarceration and to workers who help inmates adjust to life outside the prison.

The story (Press Herald, July 14) doesn’t mention that he looked at inmates’ quarters, but I can say, as a reporter who has been inside several prisons, that while those quarters aren’t the Taj Mahal, they’re closer to the Taj Mahal than the squalid, overcrowded facilities that house migrants on our southern border. No chicken, fish, green beans and potatoes for them. No psychologist to help them deal with their conditions, especially when children are separated from parents. No workers to help them readjust to new lives in a safe and welcoming country.

Why? Because Barr and President Trump see these brown people as less than human; they don’t care that deporting them to their home countries would mean death for many of them. It is the Republican nationalist right wing base’s biggest issue, and there’s no room for compassion.

Even “our” Susan Collins is complicit on this issue. Only when protestors and their children sat in her offices did she issue an email saying she was “appalled” by these conditions. Then she retreated to the Trump mantra in favor of immigration reform, a strong border, etc.

She showed great compassion for Brett Kavanaugh when he sought a lifetime job on the Supreme Court. Couldn’t she show as much compassion for families who are only seeking safety?

Donna Halvorsen

South Portland


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