Stop Child-Parent Separation

Friday , June 22, 2018 - 10:35 AM

We are writing to strongly object to the forcible separation of children from their parents at the U.S. border with Mexico. Families seeking asylum who present themselves at the border, as well as those crossing illegally, are having their children, including toddlers and school children, torn from their arms and placed in centers and later foster homes -- “or wherever”, per John Kelly.

The trauma that children experience when they are ripped from their parents arms and placed with strangers is abhorrent. A child’s trust in their parents and others will be damaged or destroyed. This is psychological torture which will have lifelong emotional consequences, including separation anxiety, nightmares and difficulty forming close personal bonds.

This policy is dangerous. A crowded warehouse or placement with strangers puts sick children at risk because of poor communication, language differences and the absence of a parent-advocate. Is a crying child upset or do they have appendicitis? Without a parent, many diagnoses will be delayed or missed completely.

When parents are released from custody, it often takes months for their children to be found and reunited with them. Children -- ages two, four, and up -- all ages -- are being shuttled through an overloaded system and often shipped to other states. Others are held five to a room in a crowded facility designed for older teenagers who crossed the border without parents.

The heinous act of separating children from parents has not been done before. Attorney General Sessions announced in May that parents would be arrested at the border and their children removed. We have researched this information and listened to humanitarian workers, lawyers and U.S. congresspersons reporting what they have seen and the stories they’ve heard. This is happening and it is new.

Add your voice - call Rep. Rob Bishop and our senators and urge them to only support bills which stop child removal now and start returning children to parents. This atrocious crime against innocent children and families must end immediately!

John Kluthe, Ph.D., child psychologist

Dr. Margaret Kluthe, pediatrician