The issue of family separation at the United States border has been a top priority for the Academy since early 2017 when the policy was first rumored. Since the official policy that has led to the separation of families took effect in May, more than 2,300 children have been separated from their parents.
View WIAAP letter to Governor and First Lady Walker and Wisconsin members of the US Congress.
Since her Op Ed in the LA Times on May 3rd, AAP president, Dr. Colleen Kraft, has been an incredible voice for the AAP raising this issue to national prominence. She has already done more than two dozen interviews with major domestic and international media outlets with many more to come. As examples, here are a few clips: on-camera interview CBS This Morning with Gayle King, another with MSNBC, another with NBC Nightly News, CNN, NPR and print coverage with Washington Post, NY Times, the Laura Bush op-ed (which cites AAP) and there are many others.
Our strategy is to use the unique voice of the AAP as experts in child health to describe the harm to these children that come from being separated from their families. Pediatricians can describe the impact of separation and toxic stress and trauma on the developing brain and let the politics and larger immigration debate be handled in the press by others. This Washington Post article is an excellent encapsulation of AAP’s message. AAP News also describes the strategy and provides additional background.
At the same time, AAP is advocating strongly in DC for these children and has weighed in on various legislative proposals pending in Congress. AAP’s position can be accessed here and here. They have also been outspoken in our criticism in numerous letters to federal policymakers and press statements, most recently on June 15.
Chapters have been vital in the AAP’s advocacy work on many issues of national importance over the past year and many of our members are eager to engage again on this important matter. Here’s how we can help:
- Go to federaladvocacy.aap.org for information on how to make your voice heard by your Member of Congress. Members of Congress need to be hearing from their constituents who oppose the separation of children from their parents.
- Write Op Eds and Letters to the Editor describing the harms to children’s health from being separated from their families and calling on the Administration to end the policy.
- To find out information about rallies or other events near you, familiesbelongtogether.org has a searchable list by zip code. They also have an ongoing petition that individuals can sign.
- Physicians for Human Rights is circulating an individual sign-on opposing the separation of families which can be accessed here.
The AAP will remain fully focused on this issue until the Administration abandons this cruelty.