Thursday, September 5, 2019

President Trump's New Detention Rule: The Least Traumatic Option

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Last week, the Department of Homeland Security announced that it had finalized new federal regulations governing the detention of migrant families who enter the country illegally. These regulations replace the Flores Settlement Agreement, a court agreement that has governed national policy for the detention of minor children for more than two decades, and preserve its substantive provisions protecting the welfare of migrant children in federal law.
The announcement was met with immediate criticism based on provisions that would allow U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to detain migrant children with their parents while their asylum cases are pending. Activist groups, many of whom rightly objected to the practice of separating children from their families when apprehended crossing the border illegally, argued that the regulations would weaken protections for migrant children and put them at greater risk of harm.
Some went so far as to label the plan “cruel beyond imagination.” It’s not. Rather, the regulations are a response to the difficulty of the humanitarian crisis at our southern border. They recognize that keeping children with their families in a humane and decent setting while expediting their asylum claim is the least traumatic realistic option available.
Forcibly separating children from their families is inherently traumatic and should always be a last resort. Children who are removed from their parents are shown to suffer long-term psychological and physical effects caused by the disruption to their attachment with their biological parents. The psychological harm suffered by children and parents who are separated was central to a letter the American Psychological Association (APA) sent to President Trump in June 2018 imploring him to reconsider the Administration’s policy of separating migrant children from their parents at the border. As an alternative to family separation, the APA suggested that the administration change its policy “from separating parents and children to housing them together and providing needed physical and mental health services.” That’s exactly what the proposed regulations are intended to do.
Read the rest from Andrew C. Brown HERE.

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