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September 04, 2019

Thompson Statement on Trauma of Children Caused by Trump Administration Family Separation

(WASHINGTON) – Today, Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS), Chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security, released the following statement on two reports by the Department of Health and Humans Services (HHS) Office of the Inspector General (OIG) on the mental health of migrant children:

“These reports validate what we have long known, the Trump Administration’s cruel and chaotic immigration policies are taking a damning toll on children and their mental health.  The Trump Administration has yet again failed to protect the most vulnerable – and has not shown they can make substantial improvements.”

“President Trump’s zero tolerance and family separation policies inflicted massive pain and trauma on children and their families – but the suffering did not end there.  Systematic inadequate care, as well as the added chaos that the Administration constantly makes worse, created an environment where children suffered from post-traumatic stress and other critical mental health issues.  These issues can impact these children for life.”

“These deplorable conditions – and the policies that created them – are not in line with our values as Americans.  Those in our care – especially children – must not be treated this way.  With purposeful cruelty so rampant in this Administration’s immigration policies, I have little confidence in their ability to properly address these problems.”

On Friday, September 20th, the Committee on Homeland Security will hold a conference on Capitol Hill on the nexus of homeland security and children’s health and safety.  The Committee will invite panelists with expert knowledge of how Administration policies – like indefinite detention, family separation, and the public charge rule – contribute to adverse childhood experiences.

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