The Mockingbird Society joins 540 child-serving organizations across the country to oppose the US Department of Homeland Security’s policy of separating children and parents at our borders in order to deter migration.
The Mockingbird Society acknowledges that the systemic separation of parents and children of color in our nation is not new, and that this current federal policy is yet another way that systemic racism is perpetuated. As individuals, communities, and as a nation, we have a choice and a responsibility in how we care for children. Many families who come to our borders are seeking asylum as they flee violence and persecution. The trauma for children from these factors is compounded when they are torn from their families and placed in foster care, shelters, or encampments for no reason except to punish immigration. This policy will send hundreds of children into government care systems which are already over-burdened and under-resourced, with no plans for how to adequately serve them.
Youth exiting foster care are at increased risk of homelessness, unemployment, and incarceration. Additionally, African American and Native American children and youth are already over-represented in Washington state’s foster care system. Placing more children of color in the foster care system through Homeland Security’s policy will continue to increase racial disparities in the system. And even if the US government expanded funding for federal foster care to meet the new demand, that is no justification for traumatizing children and tearing families apart.
The American Academy of Pediatrics, an association of 66,000 pediatricians, denounced the federal policy for causing toxic stress to children during separation from parents. Toxic stress disrupts brain development, and children exposed to toxic stress are more likely to suffer from developmental delays, heart disease, and cancer. The AAP tells us what we already know from our daily work with children, youth, and families: that toxic stress in childhood has serious consequences throughout life, and that children do best when they remain in families with loving, supportive adults.
The evidence shows that this policy is clearly harmful to children. Legislators and policymakers should look our nation’s bi-partisan legacy of supporting families, and immediately reverse this federal policy which is having severe negative impacts for children, youth, and families.
- Contact your federal Senators and Representatives and request an immediate reversal of this policy.
- Spread the word about this situation on social media: #KeepFamiliesTogether.
- Visit the Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights for more information about this issue