Have you ever been distracted in a public place and lost track of your young child for even 15 seconds? Do you recall how it felt? How about when you were a child; do you remember getting briefly separated from a parent while in a store? Imagine having that feeling for a day, a month or for an indefinite period of time.
The National Association of Social Workers and the American Psychological Association are asking the United States Government to stop the policy of separating the children of asylum seekers crossing the border from their parents and to reunite those children already separated with their parents or families. At Lake Country Associates, we recognize the damage that has been done to generations of people, such as Native Americans, Japanese Americans, African Americans and others. We ask the administration to stop this practice which inflicts unnecessary trauma on vulnerable children.
The National Association of Social Workers (NASW) writes:
“A “zero tolerance” immigration policy that would prosecute families who attempt to cross the border and forcibly separate children from parents is malicious and unconscionable and the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) will press lawmakers to rescind this egregious action.”
Following the executive order rescinding immigrant family separation policy, the American Psychological Association (APA) made the following statement:
“While we are gratified that President Trump has ended this troubling policy of wresting immigrant children from their parents, we remain gravely concerned about the fate of the more than 2,300 children who have already been separated and are in shelters. These children have been needlessly traumatized and must be reunited with their parents or other family members as quickly as possible to minimize any long-term harm to their mental and physical health. In the interim, they should be assessed for and receive any needed mental or physical health care by qualified health care professionals.
Decades of psychological research show that children separated from their parents can suffer severe psychological distress, resulting in anxiety, loss of appetite, sleep disturbances, withdrawal, aggressive behavior and decline in educational achievement. The longer the parent and child are separated, the greater the child’s symptoms of anxiety and depression become.
The American Psychological Association stands ready to assist in getting these children the psychological care that they will need during the time they are in U.S. custody and upon their release.
However, the executive order could create new challenges to the health and well-being of immigrant families by opening the door to holding children with their parents longer than is now permitted by law. The bottom line is we need to have immigration policies that are humane and in the best interests of children and families.”