Unit 2 Op-ed

Forcibly Removing Children From Their Parents Is Inhumane

“My love, I’m your mother, I’m your mother”, a helpless mother cries out, as her three-year-old son did not recognize her after being separated for months. A mother’s worst nightmare came to life, as her own son did not want to be held in her arms or be near her. Thousands of families are going through this painful experience due to the Trump’s family separation policy. Heartbroken and hopeless, parents all over the country fear that their children will be ripped away from their arms in a blink of an eye.

“From Child Trends and the National Research Center on Hispanic Children and Families. More than 2,300 children have recently suffered the traumatic experience of being forcibly separated from their parents at the United States border.” (Supporting) A child going through a significant amount of stress, threatens their development process mentally and emotionally, according to Senior Research Scientist, Maria A. Ramos Olazagasti and Deputy Program Area Director, Early Childhood Development and Child Welfare, Jessica Dym Bartlett. The separation of a child from their parents will cause a significant amount of stress and traumatic injury to the child. Commander Jonathan White of the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps warned facts to Trump’s office about the damage the policy could do, if they continued to proceed. The effects the child will go through, will scar them and cause a lifelong fear. A child being taken away from their parents, in an unfamiliar atmosphere is already terrifying enough. However, being placed into a detained cage where they have to sleep on cold concrete floors, is purely inhumane and cruel. It puts young kids into an unstable state of mind, where they wander upon thousands of questions. In fear, they think of the worst possibilities to what is going to happen to them or where their parents could have gone. To imagine the pain and sadness both the parents and child went through, is angering and heartbreaking.

Everyday on the news, you see countless head titles about Trump and his heartless immigration policies. The torture he is causes for thousands of families, who only come to America for a new beginning. The way kids have to see their parents being degraded by guards and have their basic human rights being taken away. Families risk their lives and everything they have, so that their kids can have a better life where they will not have to worry about if they are going to live to see the next day. A personal story was shared in court, when a mother of one-year-old, Olivia Caceres, knew the difference in behavior from her child before and after the separation. She stated about how she was not concerned that her child would be traumatized from the separation due to his young age. However, she was wrong, after the two reunited the baby continued to cry out whenever his mother was not in his sight, fearing that she was gone again. Olivia talks about how whenever Mateo sees strangers, he thinks they’re going to take him. He doesn’t want them to be near him or even speak to him. He wants to be as far away as possible. This shows how traumatized kids become no matter what age due to the separation policy. Kids as young as three, are forced to go to court alone, to fight a case that they do not understand. Thousands of kids ranging from younger than three to seventeen and older, had to fight for their freedom by themselves. Only some kids were lucky to obtain a lawyer, but majority did not have one. These kids who know barely any English, had a translator to translate the words coming out of the judges mouth and were expected to understand everything. Wearing headphones that translates whatever the person sitting high up in the black robe is saying, hoping some sort of luck will pass by them, and that the questioning will soon end.

A couple months ago, the government was sued by a Boston based nonprofit organization on behalf of the children who were traumatized after being separated from their parents. “The 125-page complaint filed in Worcester District Court by The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Economic Justice calls on the federal government to compensate the estimated 2,500 children affected by the family separation policy and to establish a fund for mental health care for children traumatized after being forcibly removed from their parents.” (Dooling) The government has done more harm to innocent families and kids, then they have welcomed them. Kids who have been separated from their parents are terrified of being alone. Now they are extremely attached to their parents, and their development into being independent has taken a step back. After a child has been forcibly removed from their parents, during the time of isolation, their body and mind are forced to adapt to the fear and stressful environment they are in. Licensed psychotherapist, Allison Abrams, explains that “children who experience trauma are at a much greater risk of developing mental health disorders such as depression, anxiety, addiction, ADHD and PTSD. Their physical health is also negatively affected.” (Damage) Colleen Kraft, the president of the American Academy of Pediatrics, stated that when a child is in a great amount of stress, their body goes into a state of immediate survival. The amount of toxic stress a child can bare, before developmental challenges begin is not much. When children are at a young age, their brain development is crucial and necessary to their overall growth. This is an essential moment in their life that will affect all aspects of their personality and identity. Kids can vulnerable when in an unknown place at such a young age. This causes them to be weary of their actions and not be able to fully show their true selves. Holding in all of their emotions and making themselves into outcasts, afraid of the real world and what it is capable of. Kids being unable to truly represent themselves, causes many delays and problems socially and emotionally.

As time goes on, the number of kids being forcibly removed from their parents will increase. The number of families who will live in fear and sadness that their child will be taken away from them will increase. News about immigration and Trump’s policies will increase. Social media’s coverage on the news will increase. More and more people will have a say about immigration, but the number of people who will take action will decrease. In today’s society, we are so obsessed with the idea of knowing current events, but fail to stand and be a part of it. We hide behind text characters and present ourselves as strong advocates, but in person we hide our voice. The world has turned into a place where it is filled with more hate and tragedies, then love and kindness. We have come to a point in life, where kids no matter what age are being forcibly separated from their parents. I hope the people of America take a stand and welcome immigrants with open arms, instead of dehumanizing them. What this world needs is more love than hate.


Work Cited

“Damage of Separating Families.” Psychology Today, Sussex Publishers, www.psychologytoday             com/us/blog/nurturing-self-compassion/201806/damage-separating-families.

Dooling, Shannon. “Boston Nonprofit Sues To Get Compensation For Children Traumatized By

Family Separation Policy.” Boston Nonprofit Sues To Get Compensation For Children

Traumatized By Family Separation Policy | WBUR News, WBUR, 6 Sept. 2018,




“Supporting Children and Parents Affected by the Trauma of Separation.” Child Trends,              


Summary: In this article, it talks about how kids were going to suffer psychologically and mentally. Multiple researchers and psychologists teamed up and worked together, to stand up against Trump’s policy due to the tramaua it will bring to many families. There was multiple facts and statements about psychological stress that was proven by a licensed psychotherapist, Allison Abrams.

Summary: This article just talked about how Boston’s nonprofit sued the government for traumatizing thousands of children. Many families had to suffer through hardships trying to get their kids back, and many children were traumatized by the way they were forcibly removed from their parents. Trump’s separation policy has affected thousands of families, not just physically but mentally. Many children now struggle with all sorts of mental effects, going from depression to having post traumatic stress disorder.

Summary: In this article, it talked about the effects of toxic stress children were exposed to while being apart from their families. Kids were not allowed to be in the same area as their siblings and were separated from them to be alone in a different holding center. After kids were forcibly removed from their parents and siblings, they went into an unhealthy state of mind where they were induced with toxic stress and went into depression. Their appetite was tremendously affected, as well as many other important opponents to live a healthy life. The level of stress these kids were in was so unhealthy, even grown adults were advised to be away from that amount of stress.