In recent weeks, our federal government has accelerated its massive separation of children from their families at our nation’s southern border. Over 2,000 children traumatized in just six weeks. While this atrocity begins over 1,000 miles from our state, Washington is now home to hundreds of children who have been separated from their families due to this atrocity. Our kids, our future.
Trauma is toxic to kids. Separating children from their families and isolating them in harsh settings is trauma. The science of childhood brain development has proven that children who experience trauma in the first few years of life are at risk of suffering lasting damage to their brain architecture. This damage can lead to lifelong problems in learning, behavior, and physical and mental health.
We condemn this policy and call upon all people of conscience to stop this preventable trauma to children.
On behalf of the children and their families who have been denied basic rights, we urge all who are involved to cease cooperation with this policy:
[NOTE: We wrote this communication to you before President Trump’s action today and while the policy of separation may be over, we decided to send this anyway because 1) there is an opportunity to act, 2) the ongoing trauma and uncertainty facing these children and their families, and 3) the possibility that the new practice will also cause trauma to children.]
- Elected officials at every level of government should speak out, legislate, and protect kids. There are numerous policy solutions at the federal level to stop this atrocity—see below.
- Law enforcement personnel, including border enforcement, should resist implementing a policy that is an atrocity.
- Nonprofit and nongovernmental organizations who operate facilities (including baby jails for tender aged kids) that enable and perpetuate this policy should refuse to cooperate.
- Our judicial systems should first stop the current harm of the policy and then prosecute any violations of human rights that have occurred. Harm to children and families should be remediated with immediate services and supports.
Here is additional information about how kids and families in our state are affected:
Several legislative proposals and bills introduced in Congress would help to ensure the safety and well-being of children and families by halting the use of family separation as a deterrent, ensuring humane treatment at the border, helping children separated from their parents due to immigration enforcement, and providing legal representation to ensure unaccompanied children have a full and fair opportunity to make their cases and access legal protection.
Please contact your U.S. Representative and U.S. Senators today: