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Maryland saw an influx of unaccompanied children from Central America this summer. Today, we have more than 3,000 of these kids. I'm glad Maryland is harboring, them but each has a sword of Damocles over his or her head ("Montgomery Co. is latest to limit immigration detainers," Oct. 7). As Customs and Border Patrol Commissioner Gil Kerlikowske continues to proclaim, "you will not be allowed to stay."

The majority of children and families here fled Central America with valid claims. They're not just beheading people in Iraq, you know. Take little David Orellana. David did not make the journey but decided to stay in El Salvador with his abuella, his grandmother. He was beheaded by a criminal gang in July. David was 10 years old.

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Take another case. Let's call her Maria. She fled Honduras when her gang member husband set the house on fire with her and the children inside. It was one more horrific act of domestic violence. This is why women and children run. Today, there is no safety in large swaths of Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador. The question is, will we send them back to their persecutors?

The Obama administration has militarized the U.S. border, reinstituted family detention, deported 2 million migrants and allowed children to face judges in immigration court without any representation. It's appalling.

America must reclaim its values of fairness and justice, and Maryland must protect the children entrusted to us. Otherwise, barbarism trumps humanity right here at home.

Nancy Langer, Baltimore

The writer is interim vice president for mission advancement at the Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service.

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