GILBERT SUN NEWS AN EDITION OF THE SUNDAY EAST VALLEY TRIBUNE | JULY 15, 2018
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Balance desperately needed in approach to immigration BY DAVID LEIBOWITZ GSN Columnist
hen the talk turns to immigration, my mind drifts to the days before the First World War, to my ancestors making the long journey by ship from Europe. These were my great grandparents, immigrants who came from Russia and Poland through Ellis Island at the turn of the 20th century. What few afternoons I shared with them as a boy have long been lost to time. It’s unfortunate, because I have so many questions. Like: What drew them across the Atlantic Ocean? What about this America sparked a dream in them? What were they fleeing? What did they hope to find? Such questions feel vital to me today because a dozen decades later, the news teems with tales of immigrants risking ev-
erything to come to this nation – only to be met with vitriol and handcuffs, a confused asylum process that is no process at all and who knows how many months separated from their children. To talk about immigration circa 2018 is to hear some of your neighbors burn with hatred for “these people,” immigrants they believe threaten not only law and order, but the American way of life. Here’s a question, one I ask without a clear answer and with no agenda beyond curiosity: What does America owe to those who come to this country in search of a better life? I mean every immigrant, with papers and without, those who come to populate our medical schools and research facilities and those who trudge across the desert to join construction crews and clean houses. It’s a basic question. And one we seem unable to answer in this age of no agreement. My own answer traces back to that ship at sea. My forebears made their voyage at
a time when European immigration was a free-for-all, when the American border was open to anyone who could afford transatlantic passage. So, yes, they came legally. And, yes, they assimilated. But here’s the thing: Their arrival was afforded the basic human dignity clearly lacking in today’s immigration shouting match. They were not viewed as animals. They were not treated as enemies of the state. If it sounds like I am arguing for completely porous borders, let me say that is not the case. Today’s America faces a different set of threats than we did 120 years ago. We also face different cultural and economic challenges. In a nation of nearly 350 million people, unfettered immigration may not be possible or desirable – and it is certainly not politically achievable. Regardless, must we treat people like animals for the simple crime of acting on their dreams? To say that America is a beacon of free-
dom for all the world does not, to me, require this nation to admit every single soul who desires to call the United States home. We should not do that. We cannot do that. But for those we cannot admit, we must find a way to make their lives better – and we especially must not continue to make their lives worse. The answer, it would seem, lies in finding the right balance between immigration without limit and our President’s hulking, penal wall and increasingly ugly verbiage. There should be room in a nation our size for more dreamers like the dreamers who started this country 400 years ago. The question is how many more? And who? Whatever our answers, our treatment of immigrants should be accompanied by the grace so much of today’s caging and screeching lacks. Just because some of our immigrant ancestors got here first – and legally – should not excuse subsequent generations’ willingness to treat human beings like so much human trash.
of social media, the internet and computer and video games contribute to the jump in teen suicide rates. The Vanderbilt study found suicidal thoughts and attempts peak in the fall and spring along with performance pressures such as college-entrance exams, AP tests and competitions. Tell your child you love them every day. Reinforce it with frequent hugs and words that build up. Spend more time with them – on walks and errands, 30 minutes three times a week. Give your children tasks around the home and tell them how valuable their help is. Know that they do not want to end their life, but instead the pain they are feeling. Limit screen time and communicate those expectations in advance. Monitor their social media daily. Designate a central charging station in your home and insist your children surrender and plug-in their devices at least one hour before bedtime to give their brains time to wind down. Understand that your child’s mental and physical health are inextricably linked. Ter-
ros Health believes an integrated approach is critical when evaluating symptoms of depression. Children don’t decide overnight to attempt suicide, rather, their thoughts and plans build. Look for: • Noticeable changes in attitudes and behavior. Does your normally emotional child seem lethargic or increasingly agitated? Is your child giving away his possessions? • Isolation. Does your child spend more time alone and away from family and friends? • Physical complaints. Does your child have increased headaches, stomachaches or other pains? • Change in daily routine. Is your child missing school, have slipping grades or is disinterested in extracurricular activities? How’s her appetite? • Overt verbal clues, or a preoccupation with death and dying. Is your child making threats or frequent mentions of death in person or on social media? Does he say he wishes he didn’t exist or that the world would be a better place without him?
If your child is in crisis, face the situation head-on, talk about suicide. Ask directly “Do you want to kill yourself?” Ask what makes them want to die and to think about what they have to live for (a special pet, friends, relatives). Remove access to guns, knives, ropes and belts and prescription drugs and overthe-counter medication. Seek professional help. If you have private insurance, make an appointment with a credentialed counselor. If you have AHCCCS or no health insurance, call Mercy Maricopa Integrated Care at 800-5645465. Other help: Crisis Response Network, 602-222-9444; Teen Lifeline, 602-2488336; National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, 800-273-8255; Mercy Maricopa Integrated Care (AHCCCS and Medicaid recipients), 800-564-5465; terroshealth.org. -Jennifer Siozos is a licensed professional counselor, and the chief transformation officer at Terros Health, a nonprofit, integrated whole health company.
Adults must deal head-on with teen suicides in EV BY JENNIFER SIOZOS Tribune Guest Writer
frightening trend has emerged in the East Valley, where 25 middle- and highschool students – 23 boys and two girls – have died by suicide since May 2017. Most of these children were high-performing students who came from upper-middleclass families. This crisis mirrors alarming new national statistics showing our youth are increasingly at risk of suicidal thoughts, attempts and deaths. A study led by Vanderbilt University reports a more than doubling from 2008 to 2015 of school-age children and adolescents hospitalized for suicidal thoughts or attempts. This is a crisis in which parents, family members, medical professionals, school officials, clergy and others must intervene bravely and immediately. A 2017 study published in Clinical Psychological Science notes that increased use