By Glenn Hutchinson

Our government must stop separating families this holiday season.

"Please return my father," an 11-year-old writes. "The only thing I want is him."

Thus begins a boy's letter addressed to his father's deportation officer. He wants his father home for Christmas.

The father, Wally Quijano, is sitting in Wakulla County Detention Center because he is undocumented. So the Quijano family in Bradenton, Fla., has an empty chair at the head of the table.

Like thousands of detainees held in the 250 detention centers across our country, Wally has no criminal record other than his desire to be in the United States.

He overstayed his visa and then came back for his son.

Wally crossed the desert in Texas, near Brownsville, and spent four days and four nights trying to return to his 11-year-old. He nearly died from lack of water and exhaustion.

You may think that only violent criminals are detained and deported, but the facts show otherwise. Since 2009, Congress has required detention centers to detain at least 34,000 immigrants like Wally every day. That mandate costs taxpayers $120 a day per detainee. It's a $2 billion-a-year industry largely run by private corporations.

Although the U.S. Senate passed an immigration bill in June, the House of Representatives has done nothing. So 150,000 more people are away from their families during the holidays.

We, as a country, need to respond to that young boy's letter and the other letters being written daily. A boy goes to sleep at night wanting to see his father again.

And so do many other children. Thousands of kids are forced to live in foster care because of our harsh immigration policy.

This holiday season, let's reunite fathers and mothers with their children because, as Americans, we value family.

Glenn Hutchinson is a writer and teacher in Miami. He can be reached at

Copyright Glenn Hutchinson.

Photo: Flickr user Britt Selvitelle, creative commons licensed.


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Trump's politics are not the problem.

The fiery Milwaukee Sheriff is on the shortlist to head the Department of Homeland Security.

By Wendell Berry

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more 
of everything ready made. Be afraid 
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery 
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card 
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something 
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know. 
So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord. 
Love the world. Work for nothing. 
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it. 
Denounce the government and embrace 
the flag. Hope to live in that free 
republic for which it stands. 
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man 
has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers. 
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.

Say that the leaves are harvested 
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus 
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion—put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come. 
Expect the end of the world. Laugh. 
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts. 
So long as women do not go cheap 
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy 
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep 
of a woman near to giving birth? 
Go with your love to the fields.
Lie easy in the shade. Rest your head 
in her lap. Swear allegiance 
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos 
can predict the motions of your mind, 
lose it. Leave it as a sign 
to mark the false trail, the way 
you didn’t go. Be like the fox 
who makes more tracks than necessary, 
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

Wendell Berry is a poet, farmer, and environmentalist in Kentucky. This poem, first published in 1973, is reprinted by permission of the author and appears in his “New Collected Poems” (Counterpoint).

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