End Family Separation | Physicians for Human Rights

End Family Separation

The U.S. is forcibly separating children from their parents at the border: evidence from PHR shows it’s torture. Act now!

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Our Goal: 50,000 Signers

7,000 have signed; help us reach 50,000!

The U.S. is forcibly separating children from their parents at the border: evidence from PHR shows it’s torture. Act now!

The evidence is clear: the Trump administration’s coercive, discriminatory practice of family separation constitutes torture. Despite claims that the practice has stopped, more than 1,100 children have been separated from their parents since a court order demanded the administration stop this harmful practice. Your response to this crisis is urgently needed. Please, send your message today demanding that the Trump administration end the cruel, forcible separation of families seeking asylum. 

Your Message
Your policies are causing harm to innocent children - please respond.
To President Donald J. Trump:

I am writing to express my grave concern and strong opposition to your administration’s policies and practices that have separated children and families seeking asylum at the U.S.-Mexico border. We urge you to reverse these inhumane practices and to respect the basic human rights and dignity of those who choose to pursue their legal right to seek asylum in the United States.

The asylum seekers at the U.S. border today, who include many children and young families, do not make the decision to leave their homes lightly. The dangerous conditions in their communities – gang violence, domestic abuse, and an utter lack of rule of law and state protection – have forced asylum seekers to make an impossible choice: remain in their home countries and risk death, kidnapping, and torture, or risk their lives to seek refuge elsewhere.

Despite the desperate conditions that force these individuals and families to seek asylum, your administration has forcibly separated thousands of children and parents at the border in order to punish asylum seekers for coming to the United States and to deter others from seeking safety. Under these policies, children as young as four months old have been forcibly removed from their parents, with no information about their whereabouts or future reunification, and no means of contacting them. These policies are in direct violation of U.S. obligations under both the International Refugee Convention and the U.S. Refugee Act of 1980.

New research conducted by Physicians for Human Rights provides evidence of the adverse physical and mental health impacts of your administration’s family separation policy, including symptoms and behaviors consistent with trauma and its effects. PHR clinicians have documented severely depressed moods, overwhelming symptoms of anxiety, and physiological manifestations of panic and despair among members of these separated families. Children have exhibited reactions such as regression in their age-appropriate behaviors, including crying, not eating, having nightmares and difficulty sleeping, and loss of developmental milestones, as well as clinging to parents and continuing to feel scared even after being reunited with their parents.

Family separation isn’t only trauma, it’s torture.

In the cases of family separation that PHR documented, U.S. officials intentionally carried out actions causing severe pain and suffering, in order to punish, coerce, and intimidate Central American asylum seekers to give up their asylum claims.

Furthermore, because the U.S. government failed to accurately track the whereabouts of children and parents in its custody, to facilitate parental contact, or plan for reunification – thus depriving children of their due protections under the rule of law – these policies also constitute enforced disappearances.
The agencies carrying out these policies must acknowledge the medical evidence that shows that detention and separation from parents has devastating health impacts on children. However, despite an executive order mandating that the Department of Homeland Security keep families united to the extent possible during any criminal trial or immigration proceeding, as well as a federal judge ruling that all separated children be reunited, families seeking asylum are still being separated.

We urge your administration to: immediately stop separating families unless strictly required in the child’s best interest; take all measures to immediately reunite families that are still separated, including those who have been deported; and fully comply with the court order to provide mental health assessment and treatment to separated family members.

The medical evidence, human rights obligations, and our common humanity demand no less.

[First Name] [Last Name]