A Border Patrol agent talking with migrants who illegally crossed the border from Mexico into the United States near McAllen, Tex. Photo Credit: Loren Elliott/Reuters
R&A’s clinical and administrative staff wanted to share our reaction to the separation of immigrant children from their parents at the southern border:
We view the “zero tolerance” policy for illegal immigration introduced by the current administration as an effort to stoke the flames of fight, flight or freeze (crisis). Political debate and complex policy aside, what we know to be clear and uncomplicated is the paramount role parents play in providing physical and psychological safety, security, and stability to children. Decades of research and our clinical practice bear out the severe consequences of prolonged separation from caregivers, and we feel a visceral sense of outrage at this injustice. Despite the administration’s policy reversal, thousands of children are still waiting to be reunited with their families.
Click HERE to listen to James Coan, Ph.D. interview with five world renown neuroscientists, including Nim Tottenham, Ph.D. who is heading up a study on the impact of early experiences at Columbia University here in NYC (see below for opportunities to get involved and support Nim’s research), on the impact of separation from caregivers on brain development in “Children at the Border“.
Many of us on the R&A staff participated on a call with the Director of Refugee Services at Catholic Charities of New York, who are caring for the approximately 300 immigrant children being held here locally. Their main message is that the need right now is for legal support and that children’s reunification largely hinges on their parents immigration cases being dismissed or resolved. Here are some ways in which we are turning our outrage into action:
- Catholic Charities of New York. If you are an attorney and can provide legal writing, research and case support, please reach out to them.
- The Florence Project and Refugee Rights Project. This organization provides legal assistance and social services to detained immigrants in Arizona.
- The Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights. This organization works for the rights of children in immigration proceedings.
- Kids In Need Of Defense (KIND). This organization works to ensure that no child appears in immigration court alone without representation.
- Asylum Seeker Advocacy Project. They work to prevent the deportation of asylum-seeking families fleeing violence.
Let’s stay in community with each other so we can stay with the painful, frustrating and helpless feelings these policies engender and do our best to do something about them.