15 June 2018 |

KAC: Separating children from parents is immoral, has long-lasting consequences

Kansas Action for Children
June 15, 2018

The health and well-being of every child is important. Kansas Action for Children has worked for 40 years to advocate for policies and programs that support thriving kids and families.

As a result, KAC must raise its voice to oppose moves by the Trump administration to formalize practices that divide immigrant children from their parents. We urge policymakers to consider the impact of such trauma on children’s health and development.

While there is no definitive number of how many children have been removed from their parents by immigration officials, we do know this practice is becoming more institutionalized. According to Reuters,[i] “nearly 1,800 families were separated between October 2016 and February 2018.” Currently, there is no clear system to reunite families.[ii]

Regardless of when the policy began, how many children are affected, or the length of the separation, we know the consequences of separation for these children are deep and long-lasting.

Research shows parents are crucial to a child’s healthy development[iii] and separating children from their parents harms children’s health and development,[iv] including putting children at increased risk for physical and mental illness. The distress caused by the separation will continue after any potential parental reunion and will continue to echo across the lifetime of each and every impacted child.

Even among children not directly affected by family separation, there will be health consequences. Kansas children feel the effects of harsh immigration policies, including family separation. Research[v] shows children living in immigrant families experience an increase in fear and toxic stress, and pediatricians have expressed significant concerns[vi] about the “long-term health consequences of the current environment for children.”[vii]

We urge policymakers at all levels of government to reject policies that will harm the health and well-being of children. It is immoral to remove children from their parents. It is unhealthy to remove children from their parents. It is not in the best interest of our state, or our nation, to remove children from their parents.

We can, and we must, do better.

We need you to raise your voice to oppose these trauma-inducing policies. Click here to share your opposition with the Trump Administration.

If you’re in the Topeka area, please consider attending today’s press conference on ending family separation and detention hosted by a coalition of Kansas Latinx/Xican@ and social justice organizations.

When: 6 p.m., Friday, June 15

Where: Kansas State Capitol (SW 8th & SW Van Buren, Topeka)


[i] Rosenberg, Mica. “Exclusive: Nearly 1,800 families separated at U.S.-Mexico border in 17 months through February.” Reuters. June 8, 2018. https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-immigration-children-exclusive/exclusive-nearly-1800-families-separated-at-us-mexico-border-in-17-months-through-february-idUSKCN1J42UE

[ii] Lind, Dara. “The Trump administration’s separation of families at the border, explained.” Vox. June 11, 2018. https://www.vox.com/2018/6/11/17443198/children-immigrant-families-separated-parents

[iii] American Psychological Assn, Parents and Caregivers are Essential to Children’s Healthy Development, available at http://www.apa.org/pi/families/resources/parents-caregivers.aspx.

[iv] Zayas LH, Aguilar-Gaxiola S, Yoon H, Rey GN, “The Distress of Citizen-Children with Detained and Deported Parents,” J. Child & Fam. Studies, 2015; 24(11):3213-3223.

[v] Joanna Dreby, “The Burden of Deportation on Children in Mexican Immigrant Families,” Journal of Marriage and Family, 2012, http://heartland.wdfiles.com/local–files/start/JMFdeportationpyramidl.pdf.

[vi] Stein, Fernando. “American Academy of Pediatrics Statement on Protecting Immigrant Children.” American Academy of Pediatrics. January 25, 2017. https://www.aap.org/en-us/about-the-aap/aap-press-room/Pages/AAPStatementonProtectingImmigrantChildren.aspx

[vii] Artiga, Samantha and Petry Ubri. “Living in an Immigrant Family in America: How Fear and Toxic Stress are Affecting Daily Life, Well-Being, & Health.” Kaiser Family Foundation. December 13, 2017. https://www.kff.org/disparities-policy/issue-brief/living-in-an-immigrant-family-in-america-how-fear-and-toxic-stress-are-affecting-daily-life-well-being-health/

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