Regardless of feelings on immigration, the abuse of children is unacceptable.

A shocking new report reveals even more about the toll immigration takes on children. We can do better.

According to a May 2018 ACLU report, hundreds of children suffered abuse at the hands of U.S. border authorities. The crimes alleged range from verbal threats to physical abuse to being denied urgent medical care.

This isn't political. The crimes in the report happened between 2009 and 2014, when President Barack Obama was still office. They reveal systemic abuse and how the most vulnerable people can be overlooked amid the noise of a larger political debate.


Photo by John Moore/Getty Images.

The Customs and Border Protection agency has challenged the ACLU report, saying they've reformed their policies while simultaneously denying the bulk of allegations contained in the 30,000 page ACLU document. However, if even one of the allegations is true, it exposes a tragic tale and a problem that must be fixed.

Most of the immigrants in the reports of abuse were already fleeing unstable and threatening conditions, seeking asylum in a country they thought would protect them. "These are allegations that span across multiple years, multiple states, involving children from different backgrounds," said ACLU attorney Mitra Ebadolahi. "The consistency to them, to us, indicates that there’s truth there."

This has nothing to do with the debate over immigration. It's about basic humanity.

Everybody is entitled to basic human rights, and unfortunately, children and other vulnerable populations are often the most at risk. The details in the ACLU report aren't concepts. They are stories about real people facing violence and abuse during a time of incredible vulnerability.

That's why it's no coincidence that in Ebadolahi's summary of the report, she opens with the story of Jahveel Ocampo, a 15-year-old mother who was seized at the border with her 2-year-old child, where she was allegedly slapped and threatened with sexual assault if she didn't agree to sign a paper allowing for her deportation.

Photo by John Moore/Getty Images.

"If the abuses were this bad under Obama when the Border Patrol described itself as constrained, imagine how it must be now under Trump," Ebadolahi writes. After all, the Department of Homeland Security also this May released a shocking report admitting the government has "lost" 1,475 of the more than 7,000 minors taken into custody by border officials.

There are people in government working to make things better. On May 23, Sen. Kamala Harris (D-California) and other congressional leaders held a rally in Washington, D.C., to support immigration and refugee policies that protect women and children.

Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images.

"This is about our children, and families, and whether we’re going to be a compassionate government or a cruel government," Harris said. "And I think we’re better than this."

It's important to support groups like the ACLU that hold powerful people and institutions accountable.

These stories are heartbreaking and unacceptable, but there are real ways to hold our government accountable and demand change.

Groups like the ACLU are more important than ever on issues like immigration, free speech, and digital privacy. They are tireless advocates for individuals without the financial or political power to make their voices heard.

The ACLU has received record amounts of funding since Trump's election and this report is just the latest example of how they're working to protect the most vulnerable members of society, giving voice to those who are often voiceless.

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via Stratford Festival / Twitter

Service dogs are invaluable to their owners because they are able to help in so many different ways.

They're trained to retrieve dropped Items, open and close doors, help their owners remove their clothes, transport medications, navigate busy areas such as airports, provide visual assistance, and even give psychological help.

The service dog trainers at K-9 Country Inn Working Service Dogs in Canada want those who require service dogs to live the fullest life possible, so they're training dogs on how to attend a theatrical performance.

The adorable photos of the dogs made their way to social media where they quickly went viral.

On August 15, a dozen dogs from Golden Retrievers to poodles, were treated to a performance of "Billy Elliott" at the Stratford Festival in Ontario, Canada. This was a special "relaxed performance" featuring quieter sound effects and lighting, designed for those with sensory issues.

RELATED: This service dog and veteran are raising awareness for PTSD in inspiring ways

"It's important to prepare the dogs for any activity the handler may like to attend," Laura Mackenzie, owner and head trainer at K-9 Country Inn Working Service Dogs, told CBC.

"The theater gives us the opportunity to expose the dogs to different stimuli such as lights, loud noises, and movement of varying degrees," she continued. "The dogs must remain relaxed in tight quarters for an extended period of time."

The dogs got to enjoy the show from their own seats and took a break with everyone else during intermission. They were able to familiarize themselves with the theater experience so they know how to navigate through crowds and fit into tight bathroom stalls.

via Stratford Festival / Twitter


via Stratford Festival / Twitter


via Stratford Festival / Twitter

"About a dozen dogs came to our relaxed performance, and they were all extremely well-behaved," says Stratford Festival spokesperson Ann Swerdfager. "I was in the lobby when they came in, then they took their seats, then got out of their seats at intermission and went back — all of the things we learn as humans when we start going to the theater."

RELATED: This sneaky guide dog is too pure for this world. A hilarious video proves it.

The dogs' great performance at the trial run means that people who require service animals can have the freedom to enjoy special experiences like going to the theater.

"It's wonderful that going to the theater is considered one of the things that you want to train a service dog for, rather than thinking that theater is out of reach for people who require a service animal, because it isn't," Swerdfager said.

The Stratford Festival runs through Nov. 10 and features productions of "The Merry Wives of Windsor," "The Neverending Story," "Othello," "Billy Elliot," "Little Shop of Horrors," "The Crucible" and more.

Inclusivity

15 'habits' of people who grew up with an 'emotionally fragile' parent

Having an emotionally fragile parent can leave lasting damage.

via The Mighty

If you grew up with an "emotionally fragile" parent, chances are, you didn't have the typical, idyllic childhood you often see in movies.

Maybe your parent lived with debilitating depression that thrust you into the role of caregiver from a very young age.

Maybe your parent was always teetering on the edge of absolute rage, so you learned to tiptoe around them to avoid an explosion. Or maybe your parent went through a divorce or separation, and leaned on you for more emotional support than was appropriate to expect of a child.

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Photo by Artem Beliaikin on Unsplash

Jasmine has been used as a natural treatment for depression, anxiety, and stress for thousands of years. Oil from the plant has also been used to treat insomnia and PMS, and is considered a natural aphrodisiac. It turns out, our ancestor's instincts to slather on the oil when they wanted a little R&R were correct.

A study, published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry, and according to Professor Hanns Hatt of the Ruhr University in Bochum, Germany, revealed that jasmine can calm you down when you're feeling anxious.The results can "be seen as evidence of a scientific basis for aromatherapy."

"Instead of a sleeping pill or a mood enhancer, a nose full of jasmine from Gardenia jasminoides could also help, according to researchers in Germany. They have discovered that the two fragrances Vertacetal-coeur (VC) and the chemical variation (PI24513) have the same molecular mechanism of action and are as strong as the commonly prescribed barbiturates or propofol," says the study.

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Nature