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Separating families leads to deep psychological trauma

Separating families leads to deep psychological trauma
AP File Photo // In this Nov. 15, 2016, photo, stadium lights atop tall poles oversee a pedestrian barrier stretching for miles along a section of the border wall between Douglas, Arizona, and Agua Prieta, in the Mexican state of Sonora.

By Genevieve Clark

Contributing Writer


“Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.” -Martin Luther King Jr.

On April 6, 2018, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced a “zero tolerance” policy at the southwest border. This policy allows for federal prosecutors to criminally prosecute all adult migrants entering the country illegally. The new policy change causes a separation of families because children cannot be held in a detention facility with their parents.

While the Trump administration continues to expedite their recent prosecution policy on illegal immigration, it’s no surprise that they haven’t considered the negative impact separating families has on children and their parents.  

What the administration fails to comprehend is that their border patrol is creating severe developmental damage within children of all ages, forcing them into a life consumed by feelings of abandonment, insecurities, inability to develop close relationships, poor self-esteem and a hypersensitive fear response.

According to Harold S. Koplewicz, one of the nation’s leading child and adolescent psychiatrists from the Child Mind Institute, said “What we are witnessing is the widespread traumatization of children of all ages. Being taken from their parents and placed into uncertain circumstances is a traumatic experience that will stay with these children for the rest of their lives.”

For children, the trauma of separation doesn’t disappear as soon as they have been reunited with their parents. It can last for years, or even forever.

Children are currently taking care of other children within the detention camps created by the U.S. Border Patrol—camps that are consistently referred to as prisons. Their lack of proper care for the traumatized children entails being given bottled water and chips for sustenance, foil sheets intended to serve as blankets, and being placed in rooms that resemble cages. There have been multiple reports of children around 15 and 16 years old teaching others how to change a diaper for unaccompanied babies.

Children ages three and younger who were removed from their parents have been separated for so long that, in the event they are returned to their families, they have already forgotten who they are. This causes immense psychological damage to children. They are unaware of their care taker, and their parents are unable to remind them.

This inhumane act against immigrant families needs to be stopped immediately. Awareness is always beneficial, so get out, protest and spread the hashtag #keepfamiliestogether to further the process of ending the Trump Administration’s rein of atrocities.

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