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Del. Ken Plum: Keep Families Together

by Del. Ken Plum June 28, 2018 at 10:15 am 26 Comments

Del. Ken Plum/File photoThis is an opinion column by Del. Ken Plum (D), who represents Reston in Virginia’s House of Delegates. It does not reflect the opinion of Reston Now

Last week I joined with nearly fifty of my colleagues in the House of Delegates in signing a joint letter to all the Virginia senators and representatives in the United States Congress about “our outrage at the cruel and systematic separation of immigrant children and their families at the U.S. border with Mexico.”

While immigration issues are mainly federal responsibility, the actions on the part of the current administration have been so horrendous that we felt an obligation to speak out. We asked our Virginia delegation to intercede with the administration to cease the policy and to reunite the children involved with their families without delay.

Since our letter there have been some pronouncements from the administration about changes in the policy, but it remains entirely unclear what will happen with the thousands of children who have already been separated from their families and are being held in mass facilities that seem more like prisons than homes.

It is equally unclear as to whether a continuation of a zero-tolerance policy on border entry will simply replace prisons for children with adult prisons. I am pleased that Governor Ralph Northam has withdrawn the use of any Virginia National Guard forces from being involved in implementing this inhumane program.

The politics of building fear of immigrants to further political goals stinks as does the attempted use of children as pawns to bargain for a disastrously conceived wall with our neighbors. Beyond the politics are the long-term human rights issues that many thought and most hoped America was beyond. The negative long-term impact on the children involved cannot be over-looked or not addressed. Nor can the impact be underestimated of sending people back to a country from which they were seeking asylum in fear for their lives.

Earlier this month, the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) along with 540 other organizations wrote to the administration as part of the Protecting Immigrant Families Campaign stating their opposition to actions that would separate children from their parents. As NAEYC stated it, “There are no ends that justify these means.”

The organization that is well respected for its research on the education of young children went on to state, “The research is clear, and so are our core values…We have an obligation to create and advance policy solutions that support child well-being and strengthen the bonds between all children and their families.”

Part of that research has found the traumatic impact of separation on young children can negatively impact them for the rest of their lives. As NAEYC said, “You don’t have to be either a parent or an educator to understand that separating children from their families–and putting them in a place where they cannot be hugged, touched, or loved–causes harm. And not the kind of harm that is easily repaired. This is the kind of harm that is significant and long-lasting, interfering with positive child development and well-being.”

Please take some time and join me in expressing to the administration our opposition to their policies and actions on immigration.

  • 30yearsinreston

    why doesn’t Mr speaker (with a small ‘s’) do something about the toll road extortion instead of wasting time writing useless letters to the US Congress that will be immediately binned
    He has too much free time on his hands

    • John

      It’s not like he is paid particularly well for the job, which is ultimately the reason why he runs unopposed. This role takes up too much time, and has so little pay, that we get what we get.

      • E

        VA Delegates are roughly paid $17,000 per year, but they do receive a per diem when the legislature is in session. With pay like that it’s pretty much guaranteed that only the wealthiest members of the community will run. With pay like that and living costs like they are in northern Virginia you’re never going to get the best people.

        • 30yearsinreston

          The FC teachers pension is more than enough for this clown
          Besides, he gets to keep his election donations
          Its not just the salary

        • Greg

          But must we suffer with the dredges of society like Ken Plum?

          • Willie Reston

            “Dredges of society.” Just listen to yourself.

      • 30yearsinreston

        He gets in because of the gerrymander

    • KP

      The global race for GDP is on and we cannot afford to lose even if it means civil war. We re on our way to have a very strong voter and tax base. Hang in there comrade, the good will always win.

  • Mike M

    Ken, how about you and your useless colleagues pen a letter about “outrage at the cruel and systematic separation of children and their criminal parents before they go to jail. Illegal is illegal. Your letter is not accomplishment. It’s political theater and imagery aimed at emotions. How about some outrage at people encouraging illegals to rush the border in ways to trigger bad imagery and genuine pain?

    • Willie Reston

      I envy you. I wish I too could go through life living in an imagined reality in which I get to make up all the rules so I wouldn’t have to face the uncomfortable truths of our actual reality.

      • Mike M

        You are only a mildly uncomfortable truth. But the sheepish mobbing of the left is becoming more so.

        • Patrick

          You should look into taking Lithium Orotate. You can get it on most any website legally. It’s a low dose of lithium which should help your anxiety and feelings of dread. You’ll be able to wake up and enjoy your day instead of spending time doing whatever it is you call it here.

          • Mike M

            Thanks for your loving advice, Patrick. I am so sorry I expressed a view with which you disagree. Surely, he must be ill if he doesn’t agree with The Party. There must be a pill! How about you re-examine your values in the context of sustainability?

    • b

      “cruel and systematic separation of children and their criminal parents before they go to jail.” I agree. We shouldn’t stunt the development of a child due to the transgressions of the parent unless, of course, the parent is in prison for child abuse/neglect.


      This study agrees that letting children visit incarcerated is a positive for both the development of the child and the overall well-being of the parent. If we are to immediately deport anyone detained at the border, why is that the parent and children are being separated in the first place?

      • Reston Realist

        So, if a US citizen gets arrested for shoplifting or DUI or possessing an illegal firearm and is detained until trial, what should happen to his/her child? Put the child in jail with the parents??

        • Greg

          Send them to live at Shadowood.

      • Mike M

        We do separate them. They can usually visit. Two different things. The children in question can visit their parent and live with them in their country of origin.

        • 14

          You’re neglecting the part where children and parents are not being deported together. I’m sure this bothers you 0% since modern conservatism requires a complete lack of empathy. Perhaps conservatism is a mental disorder.

          • Mike M

            Yes. Everyone who disagrees with you is evil. Right? Yes, and throw those who are in line with The Party in a mental institution? been done. Google Soviet Union. In fact, as your mimicry implies, a serious study has been done on the matter and political views that are extreme and that push unattainable goals can be linked with mental disorder.

          • no

            If somewhere in that garbled mess you were making a point, it did not stick.

            Conservatism as a mental disorder still a strong hypothesis.

          • Mike M

            I doubt many points stick with you.

    • Reston Realist

      Well stated, Mike….

  • KennyP

    Thats it! The Dems are crying! Open the boarders and abolish ICE!!!

  • 30yearsinreston

    Fact.: Obummer deported more immigrants than any President
    How many letters did Plum write ?

    • KennyP

      None – he was too busy trying to convince us all our founding fathers were racists.

  • Greg

    Keep families together. In their countries.

    We have enough broken families here: 50 percent of all marriages end in divorce.

    Keep illegal immigrants out. All of them.


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