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As the new year begins, I look forward to a solution to the stalemate over the president’s stated desire to protect our southern U.S. border.

Having just finished reading "Half the Sky" by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn (it was a PBS film as well), I was impressed by the low-cost, but highly effective, efforts of nonprofit groups working to improve the lives of girls and women in poorer parts of the world.

It made me think. What if the families joining caravans to walk a thousand miles to the U.S. border in hopes of escaping criminal gangs and giving their children better educations and health care could stay home? What if the $5 billion that the president wants to use to build a hard border could give young girls (and boys, who now turn to crime and violence), the education and skills to live and work decently in their own countries? What if we stopped pretending that you can keep people away from some place they believe offers them not only a better life but life period?

This sham political game disgraces us as a nation. As citizens we need to demand more.

Linda Duczman O'Connell, Racine

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