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Family separations worse than thought

The trauma of the separation of children from family members seeking to enter the United States from Mexico and countries farther south is undeniable. Now, as reported in Mother Jones, Amnesty International indicates far more families than officially tallied have been separated.

“The Trump administration is waging a deliberate campaign of widespread human rights violations in order to punish and deter people seeking safety at the U.S.-Mexico border,” Erika Guevara-Rosas, the Americas director at Amnesty International, said in a statement.

The American Psychiatric Association has called for an end to the policy on mental health grounds. “Children depend on their parents for safety and support. Any forced separation is highly stressful for children and can cause lifelong trauma, as well as an increased risk of other mental illnesses, such as depression, anxiety, and posttraumatic stress disorder. The evidence is clear that this level of trauma also results in serious medical and health consequences for these children and their caregivers,” according to the APA statement.

Compounding the trauma, if a child’s parents are deported while the child is in detention, the child could be put up for adoption without notification of the parents. Reports of abuse of children at some detention centers have heightened criticism of the policy.

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