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Opinion Pieces Address Social, Health Impacts Of Family Separation During Immigration, Trump Administration’s Policies

CNN: Protecting refugee children is a test of our humanity
Filippo Grandi, U.N. high commissioner for refugees, and Henrietta H. Fore, executive director of UNICEF

“…More than half of the world’s refugees are children. Over 173,800 refugee and asylum-seeking children are separated from their families or have been forced to flee on their own. It is in their lives — and their shattered futures — that the most devastating consequences of war, violence, and persecution play out. As the world’s conflicts have multiplied and intensified over the past few years to create millions more refugees and displaced people, governments seem to have overlooked their duty of care to children. … Whether they are alone or with their families, we — governments, aid agencies, businesses, communities — have a moral and legal obligation to these children. … Turned away by border guards and impenetrable barbed wire fences, kept in detention centers, or separated from their parents — the violence that propelled them from their countries is perpetuated by the hostile reception they receive. UNICEF and UNHCR assert that all children on the move, no matter why or how they were uprooted, should receive the same care and compassion as any other child. Children are first and foremost children — and regardless of their nationality, their legal status, or that of their parents, their welfare and rights must be at the center of our actions. … Our ability to make a difference in their lives — between despair and hope, and being left behind and building a future — is a test of our shared humanity” (6/20).

STAT: Separating families at the border isn’t just bad policy — it’s horrible for children’s health
Oscar J. Benavidez, division chief of pediatric congenital cardiology and director of diversity and equity at the MassGeneral Hospital for Children

“…In an effort to deter families from migrating to the United States, reports say the Department of Homeland Security is now taking children as young as 12 months from their undocumented immigrant parents at the border. … Being wrenched from parents is every child’s worst nightmare. In addition to being traumatized by a forced separation, these children are at risk for further abuse and exploitation as the government ward system is imperfect in protecting children. This policy inflicts psychological injury on children, and its malicious intent may lessen the provision of compassionate treatment by those holding these children. … Just as our profession does not tolerate psychological and physical abuse of children at the hands of a parent, we must not tolerate it at the hands of our government. Abusive acts by the government have no more legitimacy or excuse than abusive acts by a parent. … No matter where you stand on U.S. immigration policy, it’s impossible not to see that the practice of separating toddlers and school-age children from their parents violates the principles of human decency…” (6/19).

ABC News: A pediatrician’s perspective on separating kids from parents at the border: OPINION
Edith Bracho-Sanchez, pediatrician

“…[W]ith our treatment of children and families at the border, this country seems to have forgotten not only its own history as a nation of immigrants, but also previously established international laws that allow human beings fleeing for their lives to seek asylum at the border of another country. … We doctors, by virtue of our profession, have the privilege of bearing witness to human vulnerability and human suffering. We therefore have an opportunity, and I’d argue a responsibility, to talk about how these issues — and the policies created in response — affect the most vulnerable among us. As a pediatrician, I serve children and their parents every day, and sometimes night, of my life. Years of practice have also taught me that no one is exempt from one day needing compassion, sympathy, and refuge” (6/20).

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