It was my understanding we had stopped separating immigrant families at our border with Mexico. That's what President Donald Trump promised. Instead, the Texas Civil Rights Project discovered at least 272 adult family members separated from the children they were caring for in the six months since Trump supposedly ended the practice. The family separations continued and are still continuing. The youngest is an 8-month-old girl taken from her mother.

These inhumane practices are indeed the real "emergency" Trump keeps saying exists at the southern border, and this is an emergency created by Trump himself. It involves not only the psychological abuse of children but also physical and sexual abuse, according to many news reports.

We were told such separations would act as a deterrent for desperate immigrants fleeing economic instability, a lack of food, and even threats of murder and other forms of intimidation. On the contrary, Nicholas Kristof of the New York Times reported March 9 that the number crossing at the border now is far higher than one year ago. Not only that, but substandard health care is still common at many detention centers.

Aren't there some critical questions we should be asking ourselves? Such as: What can we do to help the Central American countries improve their often dangerous living environments and substandard economic conditions? And why is the mistreatment of immigrants and their children still happening in a great democracy such as ours?

Patricia Richard-Amato