We know that separating migrant parents from their children after they enter the United States at the Mexican border is tantamount to child abuse for many children. We know it is an affront to the values that our country was built on.
And by the way, to use the Scripture to justify the actions that have been taken at the border to separate families is a really a sad commentary and state of affairs. I did not know that there was a commandment on the need to separate families seeking asylum.
And forget policy too. It is just dead wrong.
But to get down to it, as mental health professionals, you know what happens when kids are separated from their parents. There is a flood of stress as strong as a Mississippi River current. It is hard to imagine the pain. And let’s face it… we are inflicting pain on kids.
We are wreaking significant and long-term psychological damage. We have learned about the effects of trauma. We have taken safety and health away from children. We are appalled when it happens to one child. But now we are creating mass abuse in the name of immigration policy.
Many articles I have read over the last few days have focused on the devastating plight of kids under our immigration policy, which of course, where a major focus should be due to short-term and long-term mental health effects of family separation on young children.
It is sad enough that we are witnessing this forced separation on children every day on the airwaves, but parents have essentially been forgotten. We have a family unit crisis. These are people who are damned if you do – damned if you don’t. If they stay in their homelands, their kids could be murdered, or forced or recruited to join gangs so they can kill other people. Now, the parents come to the U.S. and lose their kids anyway under this family separation policy. I thought the idea that people seeking asylum should be given shelter and warmth and showed kindness.
The parents are now facing the separation anxiety which will manifest itself in many horrible ways. They are going to need mental health care and health care because there insides are being torn up. Every waking moment must be a nightmare? Where are my children? Will I see them again? Are they safe? Those are the obvious questions and much more that eats away at them every day they are separated from their kids.
There is only one sensible thing to do.
Stop the current policy today and get needed mental health care and other health services to all of these families immediately.
Otherwise, the harm we are causing on these families will take a lifetime to undo.
And long-term damage to our national psyche as well!