WASHINGTON – Experts on children’s health and well-being explained how the Biden administration’s asylum policies are harming children on a webinar today. View a recording of the webinar here (passcode +Q57=exH).
From rushing court cases at the border, to the proposed asylum ban and the specter of putting entire families in jail, these policies were ostensibly, and cruelly, designed to coerce adults into remaining in dangerous situations, instead of seeking safety in the United States. The policies are also destructive to children—emotionally, developmentally, and physically.
Said Dr. Marsha Griffin, Professor of Pediatrics and Director of the Division of Child and Family Health at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley School of Medicine: “There is nothing in this proposal that considers the best interest of the child. No amount of time in detention is safe for a child. Families do not leave their families, homes and everything dear to them to seek safety, if it is not a life or death situation. They deserve our protection, not our abuse.”
Dr. Griffin is a co-author of the American Academy of Pediatrics Policy Statement, “Detention of Immigrant Children.”
“The American people support government policies that ensure that children and families have a fair opportunity to seek protection,” said Miriam Abaya, Esq., Vice President, Immigration and Children’s Rights with First Focus on Children. “They support the proposition that when creating federal policy, our government must ask ‘is this policy good for kids’? If our government asks that question and uses it as the guiding principle for immigration policies, our country can create an immigration system that is humane, orderly, and advances children’s safety, well-being, and family unity. Our government has the solutions and resources. The only thing lacking is political will.”
Whether families are forced to remain in danger at home or in Mexico, or make the excruciating decision to send a child north on their own, these policies are trapping kids in danger and make it difficult, if not, impossible for them to obtain the safety they deserve and need.
Jane Liu, Director of Policy and Litigation at Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights, added: “All children, including children who travel with their families to seek protection at the border, should be treated as children. Yet, the Biden administration’s asylum ban would completely fail at doing this. It would impose unfair requirements on children and families and penalize them if they don’t meet them, even though children often have no control over these things. It would ignore the specific needs and vulnerabilities of children and throw them and their families into a fast-tracked deportation process. Children will have no real opportunity to prepare their claims and be heard, and many will be returned to danger, persecution, and harm.
“The Biden administration needs to immediately rescind its proposed asylum ban and divert its resources on systems that have already proven effective in welcoming all people seeking asylum, including children and families, safely and humanely.”
Webinar recording (passcode +Q57=exH)
“Fast Not Fair: How Expedited Processes Harm Immigrant Children Seeking Protection” (First Focus on Children and Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights)
American Academy of Pediatrics Policy Statement, “Detention of Immigrant Children”
“Through Iceboxes and Kennels: How Immigration Detention Harms Children and Families,” Dr. Luis H. Zayas, Robert Lee Sutherland Chair in Mental Health and Social Policy, University of Texas-Austin
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The #WelcomeWithDignity Campaign for asylum rights is composed of more than 100 organizations committed to transforming the way the United States receives and protects people forced to flee their homes to ensure they are treated humanely and fairly. To learn more and join our campaign visit: welcomewithdignity.org