Tags: border separation | illegals | asylum | psychological damage | children

Experts: Migrant Separation Irreparably Harms Children

Experts: Migrant Separation Irreparably Harms Children
Adriana Sanchez wipes a tear from her face as she is comforted by her mother, Rosalina De La Rosa, following a Tuesday protest to end forced separation of children from their parents. (Rod Aydelotte/AP)

By    |   Tuesday, 19 June 2018 07:41 PM

President Donald Trump's zero-tolerance policy resulting in the separation of families at the U.S.-Mexico border is causing psychological damage and irreversible harm to children, experts warn.

The policy, announced by Attorney General Jeff Sessions in April, allows the prosecution of adults separately from children when families seek asylum at the border. The children are placed in custody at a branch of the Health and Human Services Department while the adults are processed.

More than 11,000 migrant children are currently being held in HHS shelters, putting the shelters at 95 percent capacity, and the number of children separated from their parents and held in custody has increased 20 percent since the end of April.

The separation of migrant children from their families could have severe effects, says Dr. Louis Kraus, a child psychiatrist at Rush University Medical Center. 

"A child losing their parent is the greatest fear that that child can have," Kraus said. "The process overall is tragic, overwhelming, quite frankly. In the short term, a child can lose their appetite, they can become fearful, they can lose weight, they can become dehydrated. We’re going to have significant mental health concerns with these children."

The National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners issued a warning letter saying traumatic life experiences in childhood, "especially those that involve loss of a caregiver or parent, cause lifelong risk for cardiovascular and mental health disease."

The American College of Physicians, the American Psychiatric Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics all issued statements against the policy as well. 

"The effect is catastrophic," Charles Nelson, a pediatrics professor at Harvard Medical School, told The Washington Post. "There's so much research on this that if people paid attention at all to the science, they would never do this."

Trump has refused to take responsibility for the separation, but pressure continues to mount on his administration as the number of children being held rises.

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President Donald Trump's zero-tolerance illegal immigration policy is causing psychological damage and irreversible harm to children, according to health experts.
border separation, illegals, asylum, psychological damage, children
Tuesday, 19 June 2018 07:41 PM
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