The Trauma of the Family Separation Policy on Migrant Children (2017-2022)

Mariela Olivares
Date of Publication: 
February, 2023
Source Organization: 

During the Trump administration, nearly 4,000 migrant children were taken from their parents as a way of deterring illegal migration. In a paper entitled “The Trauma of the Family Separation Policy on Migrant Children (2017-2022),” the author delves into the government’s rationale for this policy, the Biden administration’s response, class action litigation against the policy, and the policy’s impact on separated children. The policy originated alongside the Zero Tolerance Prosecution Policy, which claimed that illegal migration with a child was a form of criminality. A lawsuit on behalf of a class of similarly situated families asserted that this policy violated the Constitution. This legal action ultimately led to the creation of a Task Force under the Biden administration, which has reunited 260 families as of May 2022, The author emphasizes the work left to be completed by the Task Force, such as defining family separation as a form of detention and torture, collaborating with nonprofits nationwide for the treatment of childhood trauma, and prioritizing the end of government-sanctioned family separation through Task Force recommendations. The alternative might be the continuation of physical and psychological harm to children, as demonstrated in the extensive overview of the medical literature on the topic.(The Immigrant Learning Center’s Public Education Institute)

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Olivares, M. (2023, February). The Trauma of the Family Separation Policy on Migrant Children (2017-2022). Social Science Research Network.