WASHINGTON, July 5, 2018 /PRNewswire-HISPANIC PR WIRE/ — Latino health care professionals are outraged at the Trump Administration zero-tolerance policy – on refugees who are fleeing persecution and other immigrants – that has separated 2000 children from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border. Our organizations’ priorities are to improve the health and wellness of Latinos and this Federal immigration policy will lead to worsening health disparities in our communities.
Medical research shows children do not have the capacity to cope with an overwhelming and devastating environment that causes immense levels of stress in the short-term, and mental and physical diseases in the long term. The affected children’s deregulated healthy stress pathways will lead to future severe mental illness such as depression, suicide, and schizophrenia, decreased immune protection leading to cancers, cardiovascular and other disease, and decreased cognitive abilities.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) sends the separated children to detention centers across the nation and will release them to relatives or foster families. There are no protocols for keeping track of parents and children concurrently, for keeping parents and children in contact with each other, or for eventually reuniting them. In some cases, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) deports parents before reuniting them with their children. Moreover, we believe that our broken immigration policy is not going to deter more immigrants from coming to America for a better life.
We believe that the U.S. should abide by international human rights law created after World War II that says to separate parents and children is prohibitive. We call for Congress to focus on comprehensive immigration policies including those that decrease the backlog of U.S. immigrant applications, abbreviate the legal review process for refugees and others at the border, expand Federal immigration judges, lawyers, and related workforce, and protect the dreamers with a new path to citizenship. We call for policies that will improve the quality of life of all Americans.
SOURCE National Hispanic Medical Association