Today, thousands of children have been separated by their parents at the border, some as young as a few months old, because of a new “zero tolerance” policy meant to deter immigrant families from trying to cross the border. The policy, which was announced in April by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, calls for the Department of Homeland Security to separate any child crossing the U.S.-Mexico border between ports of entry from the adults with them before those adults are prosecuted. What’s worse? Once separated from their parent, the conditions at the immigration detention centers are nothing a child should experience.
Dr. Colleen Kraft, the president of the American Academy of Pediatrics, referred to the separation of children from their parent as “government-sanctioned child abuse.”
According to the American Psychological Association, separating children from their family increases symptoms of depression, anxiety, and withdrawal resulting in psychological distress, academic difficulties, and disruptions in their development. In the short term, there are changes to a child’s ability to concentrate, remember things, and control and focus their own thinking. In the long term, such trauma and high levels of stress places children at risk of heart disease, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. These negative health impacts due to unjust policies that separate families go against American values of inclusion and equality.
At The Children’s Partnership, we recognize our work to promote children’s health and opportunity must consider the impact of immigration policies. Whether it is making sure all children have access to health coverage, supporting the mental health of children in immigrant families, or fostering inclusive and safe spaces on school campuses for all children, we are working with you, every day, for every child.
Now, with the Administration’s trauma-inducing policies, a moral line has been crossed and it is up to all of us to stop these cold-hearted attacks on children.
Here's what you can do:
- Mobilize! Join and support this weekend’s events in California. • Let Our Children Go! Statewide Action to End Family Separation, San Diego, led by PICO California. Learn more. Call! Contact Members of Congress! • Ask them to support S. 3036 and H.R. 6135, the Keep Families Together Act, to stop the separation of immigrant families at the U.S. border.
- Ask them to push President Trump, DHS Secretary Nielsen, and Attorney General Sessions to end the practice of separating and jailing families. Actions they can take are listed in the Hill briefing document developed by the Immigration Hub and the Women’s Refugee Commission.
- Dial 1-202-224-3121 or use the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) tool that directs calls, tweets, Facebook posts, and emails to all Members of Congress. Raise Awareness! Use social media to speak out against the Administration’s cruel policy. • Tweet at your Members of Congress and ask them to urge the administration to end the policy of forcibly separating families.
- Sample tweets can be found here. Use #FamiliesBelongTogether Graphics.