The Atlantic Daily: The Dedication of the Living

The president promised to keep unauthorized immigrant families together. Plus what it’s like to change careers, advice for aging, and more.

Donald Trump after signing his executive order on immigration policy on June 20 (Yuri Gripas / Reuters)

What We’re Following

Policy Shift: President Trump signed a new executive order on immigration that, while preserving the “zero tolerance” policy that has resulted in the separation of hundreds of families who entered the United States illegally, calls for parents to be detained together with their children. What exactly the order will change is not yet clear. It may violate an existing agreement not to hold immigrant children in adult facilities, and could also stymie potential legislative solutions. Before signing the order, Trump insisted that only Congress could stop the separations. So far, though, lawmakers have struggled to reach an agreement—and changing messages from the president haven’t helped.

Health Concerns: Reports from inside the shelters where immigrant children are being detained without their parents say that in many cases, workers are prohibited from hugging the children in their care—a policy that goes against substantial research showing that it’s detrimental for kids to go without positive touch. Two clinicians who have spent a decade studying children who arrived in the U.S. unaccompanied describe how these kids have been affected by being apart from their parents.

Council Complexities: The U.S. is withdrawing from the United Nations Human Rights Council in response to what Ambassador Nikki Haley described as the council’s “chronic bias” against Israel and its lack of action to address abuses in other countries, such as Iran and Venezuela. The U.S. has been critical of the council’s flaws in the past—particularly its inclusion of member countries with poor human-rights records—but withdrawing may not solve the problem.


Audio and visual reports from the U.S.–Mexico border, including photographs like the one above by John Moore for Getty, have fueled outrage over the U.S. policy of separating immigrant families. This is in part because the images are “so profoundly undeniable,” Megan Garber writes. Yet some prominent defenders of the policy have denied the photos’ importance, and even their honesty. Read Megan’s essay on the empathy demanded by such images, and the logic that lets people look away.

Who We’re Talking To … About Leaving One’s Career

Meg Spinella, a hospice chaplain, describes how she deals with loss—not only when counseling the dying and bereaved, but also when coping with the “disenfranchised grief” of losing a job.

James T. Green, a graphic designer and podcaster, discusses the stresses that led him to quit his dream job to save his health.

Nancy Bancroft, a former nun, shares what it was like to change both her career and her core identity when she left a convent in 1973.

Evening Read

Adam Serwer on America’s history of forcibly breaking up families:

I suspect that part of what horrifies Americans is not the novelty of Trump’s policy, but its familiarity. Americans are fighting a part of themselves that they naively thought they had vanquished. From chattel slavery to American Indian schools to convict leasing, child-snatching has been a tradition in America since before there was an America. If one is convinced that the parents are not truly human, then the children cannot truly be children, and what should be unthinkable becomes inevitable.

The sins of the past are not guardrails. There is nothing to prevent them from being committed again, except for the dedication of the living to creating a better world.

Keep reading as Adam describes how family separation reveals the logic of Trumpism.

What Do You Know … About Science, Technology, and Health?

As the United Kingdom prepares to leave the European Union, some politicians have proposed using unspecified technological advances to avert chaos at the nation’s ports—a view that both British and European opponents have called “magical thinking.” In the United States, the app-and-algorithm-fueled gig economy can be especially attractive to young immigrants because of its promise to boost immediate income. But after spending too much time with companies like Uber and Caviar, many workers are finding themselves without long-term career prospects.

Can you remember the other key facts from this week’s science, technology, and health coverage? Test your knowledge below:

1. A certain species of ____________ can influence the behaviors of fish that it hasn’t even infected.

Scroll down for the answer, or find it here.

2. The newest branch of the U.S. military—the Air Force—was created in the year ____________.

Scroll down for the answer, or find it here.

3. Researchers at Johns Hopkins University have developed a prosthetic hand that can feel ____________.

Scroll down for the answer, or find it here.

Answers: tapeworm / 1947 / pain

Look Back

In our July/August 2010 issue, Hanna Rosin predicted “The End of Men”:

What if the modern, postindustrial economy is simply more congenial to women than to men? For a long time, evolutionary psychologists have claimed that we are all imprinted with adaptive imperatives from a distant past: men are faster and stronger and hardwired to fight for scarce resources, and that shows up now as a drive to win on Wall Street; women are programmed to find good providers and to care for their offspring, and that is manifested in more- nurturing and more-flexible behavior, ordaining them to domesticity. This kind of thinking frames our sense of the natural order. But what if men and women were fulfilling not biological imperatives but social roles, based on what was more efficient throughout a long era of human history? What if that era has now come to an end? More to the point, what if the economics of the new era are better suited to women?

Read more, share this story, and find more articles from our archives.

Reader Response

Every Wednesday, Lori Gottlieb answers reader questions in the Dear Therapist column. This woman writes that she’s worried about getting older:

I’ll be turning 50 later this year and I’m having a very difficult time with my current stage in the aging process. I’m not so much worried about the number itself but about the changes in my body and especially my looks and attractiveness, which are putting me into a kind of quiet but desperate panic …

I try to have compassion for myself, but I feel guilty that I’m being so superficial, especially as I’ve assumed some of the caretaking duties of my elderly and very ill mother. Do you have any advice for how I can pull myself out of this desperate loop? I don’t want to lose the good, active years that I still have ahead being mired in this.

Read Lori’s advice, and write to her at


Dystopian present, costumed heroes, parasitic mind control, neighborly grace.

Time of Your Life

Happy birthday to Yuezhen (a year younger than Harry Potter); from Gerald to Nicole (the same age as the James Bond film franchise); to Karensa’s son Josh (a year younger than mass-produced personal computers); to Dara (twice the age of YouTube); and to Sumit’s son Aveen, who at 13 is too young for the Timeline, but just the right age to build a nuclear-fusion reactor.

Meet The Atlantic Daily’s team, and contact us.

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