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Immigration policy is complex and there are few easy answers. But on the topic of family separation at the border, as with many other recent political debates, children are caught in the middle without a voice. That is unfair and unacceptable.
Children’s Hospital Colorado opposes the U.S. government’s policy of separating children from parents seeking asylum along our country’s border. It is in direct conflict with what we know is necessary to support a child's health and successful development.
We urge elected officials to recognize that physically pulling families apart is deeply harmful to those children’s lifelong prospects for wellbeing. We also urge the Administration to immediately implement policies that will address a complex and difficult topic with greater compassion while respecting the medical rights of children being detained and keeping families together whenever possible.
Many of these families are fleeing violence or persecution in their home country. Some of the children are as young as infants and toddlers, and many have already experienced deep or repeated traumas before arriving in the United States.
Even under more normal circumstances, a child’s healthy physical and mental development can be derailed by intense, adverse childhood experiences. The accumulated damage of toxic stress from these experiences is even worse if children can’t rely on trusted caregivers who can support and buffer them from the stress.