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The Houston Chronicle reports this morning that the Salvation Army as well as another charity associated with the Fire Department in Houston is requiring that children or parents provide birth certificates and social security cards in order to be eligible to receive a charitable toy. Lorugene Young, a leader of the outreach program that heads one of the groups distributing toys, alleged that the reason for the discrimination against some immigrant children was not to punish the children but only to ensure their parents were citizens, legal immigrants, or working to become legal residents.

While I am hesitant to cast aspersions against those who are serving their community by donating their time to provide toys for children, the fact that some charitable organizations are discriminating against young children on the basis of their parents’ legal status seems entirely antithetical to the spirit of the Christmas season. As there are limited amounts of toys to be given away, some criteria must be developed in order to provide for allocation of the toys. However, dividing the children into whether or not their parents are in the country legally seems downright disturbing in my eyes. Sadly, this development is more of the trend than the exception and remains emblematic of the hurdles that immigrants are being required to overcome. It is my hope that the Houston charitable organizations sponsoring such discrimination will recognize the inequitable nature of these criteria and change their policy, immediately.

Rusten Hurd

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