I watch with increasing dismay the suffering of immigrant children in U.S. custody. They are given poor food and live in overcrowded squalor without education or play. Even the smallest children are not cared for. Their parents are held in similar situations. Prison inmates in our country have better sanitation, food and water, education and recreation.

The immigration and asylum system in place for the past 50 years wasn’t perfect, but it wasn’t abusive and rarely resulted in family separation — certainly not as a systematic, deliberate form of oppression that reeks of human rights abuse. Remember when our country was a shining beacon for human rights around the globe?

There’s a lot of money being made off these asylum seekers. According to one figure, private prison companies are being paid $750 a day for interning each immigrant child — and they can’t spare $25 of that to avoid Oliver Twist-type conditions?

In opulent contrast, Donald Trump turned the nation’s Independence Day celebration into a political rally, handing out VIP tickets to his major donors and demanding a Putin/Kim Jong Un-esque tank and troops parade with a fighter plane flyover.

This rally is costing a fortune, a figure the administration refuses to share, though we know the beleaguered National Park Service is scraping together more than $2 million for the event (the entire cost of previous celebrations).

This event is one of the many ways Trump has turned the presidency into his own private and profitable playground, with the support of Mitch McConnell’s Senate. (Remember checks and balances?)

Help the children. Restore our democracy. Stop pretending all of this is OK. And yes, throw the bums out.

Kate Coombs, Bountiful