Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen may be correct that our country does, indeed, separate children from their parents when the parents are arrested for criminal misdeeds. But that's not the end of the story. As a humane nation, we take monumental steps at that point to protect the vulnerable children who are affected.

The first step is to try to locate a person known to the child, someone who can take the child in and keep him or her safe at such a traumatic time. If no known person is located, then the children are placed with a family who will shelter them until a secure placement can be found.

Under no circumstances do we put vulnerable children in detainment centers or in institutionalized care.

Once placed in a more permanent placement, the child is cared for as an individual. Visitations with the parent are paramount to the child’s fragile state. The government agency does everything it can to maintain the bond between parent and child.

To learn that the government, in my name, is not only treating innocent children as we are, but also using them as leverage to punish the parent, is beyond my imagination.

Patricia John, Pleasant Hill