Statement: Family Separation is Child Abuse
Child Abuse & Neglect Child Rights Children of Immigrants Racial Equity
In May, the Trump administration issued a zero-tolerance policy for families crossing the U.S. border. According to a recent report, 1,887 new children are now in the custody of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) since the enactment of this policy just one month ago.1 This initiative has created a new category of unaccompanied children who will rely on HHS for their safety and well-being. While the stated purpose is to uphold the rule of law, cruelty as a deterrence tactic has been the point of this initiative from the start. The following statement comes from Bruce Lesley, President of First Focus:
“With dire urgency, the administration’s anti-immigrant and anti-family policies must be rejected. In a democracy, we are all accountable for our government, which includes how we treat the most vulnerable among us. The Administration’s family separation policy directly harms children and amounts to child abuse. Anyone concerned about the tragedy of family separation and the harm it is doing to children should contact their elected officials and demand the end to this policy. Our country has to be better than this.”
As a nation that values the well-being of all children and understands the strength of family unity, it is our responsibility to ensure that children and families who are seeking refuge in the U.S. are not deterred from doing so and that our government provides the best protections and services to these vulnerable children during every step of the process. There is room for bipartisan conversations regarding our nation’s broken immigration system. However, tearing children from their parents should never be a part of this conversation.