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June 28, 2018
An Executive Order was signed on Wednesday, June 20 that may be a small step toward acknowledging that the recent policy changes forcing the separation of immigrant families crossing our borders are unacceptable, and that their consequences have been catastrophic. The practices resulting from those policies have caused acute and severe suffering for infants, toddlers, young children, and their families, and put their long-term health and mental health at risk.
It is critical to be clear that this Executive Order does not specify if, when, and how the more than 2,300 children who have been separated from their families beginning in May will be reunited with them. It does not address the need for treatment that these children and their families now need as a result of these traumatic separations. And it does not lay out a clear path for keeping families who have not yet been separated together, in conditions that are safe and healthy for infants and children.
This Executive Order, a first small acknowledgment of preventable harm that has already been done, is the result of your – all of our – leadership and advocacy on behalf of infants, children, and families – regardless of their citizenship status. But the fate of these children, and those who have not yet been separated from their families, will depend on our continued mobilization, and the unity of our voices. We must stay vigilant and persistent on this issue, and all issues that are damaging to children’s futures, and to their wellbeing today.
Together we can carry the momentum forward in support of ALL family-first and family-friendly policies. You can be an agent of change for families in a wide variety of ways, for example, by calling, emailing and writing your elected officials to voice your opposition to separating families as well as your support for important family policies such as children’s health insurance; seeking out information on accessible resources in your communities for families and children facing adversities; and supporting businesses that take a stand on social injustice and provide living wages and benefits.
Together we will stand up for every baby and child everywhere –we are not alone, and we can make change happen.
Thank you for all that you do to nurture and protect children and families, today, and tomorrow.
Joshua Sparrow, MD
Director, Brazelton Touchpoints Center