Migrant family separations could mean lasting trauma for kids

Children separated from their parents along the U.S.-Mexico border as part of the Trump Administration’s “zero tolerance” policy could face trauma that lasts throughout their lives, according to human rights expert Jacqueline Bhabha of Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

Bhabha, professor of the practice of health and human rights at Harvard Chan School’s FXB Center for Health and Human Rights, was interviewed June 19, 2018 on the WGBH show “Greater Boston.” She told host Jim Braude that she thinks the term “child abuse” is an apt description of the Trump Administration’s family separation policy. “It’s an extreme form of violation of children’s human rights,” she said. “I’ve worked in this field now for over 25 years, and I think this is the most extreme government-propelled harm against innocent children in the migration field that I’ve seen.”

Although the Trump Administration reversed the six-week-old policy of separating families on June 20, it remains unclear when the 2,300 children separated from their parents will be reunited with them.

Bhabha also wrote an op-ed on America’s treatment of migrants that appeared in the June 29 issue of The Globe and Mail. Wrote Bhabha, “Not since the reviled policies of previous centuries of American history—the separation of slave families, the national origins quota determining visa allocation, the wartime internment of residents, including citizens, wrongly classified as enemy aliens—not since those darkest times has such a catalogue of hateful attacks on those classified as ‘other’ been unleashed.”

Watch Jacqueline Bhabha interview on WGBH’s “Greater Boston”: Experts Weigh In On The Damage Family Separation Inflicts On Kids

Read Bhabha’s op-ed in The Globe and Mail: America’s treatment of migrants is sending the country back to the dark ages

Read an FXB Center statement about the Trump Administration’s zero tolerance policy: Zero Humanity: Inflicting Human Suffering at the US Border