Recent news headlines describing unsafe conditions that immigrant children are being exposed to at our southern border have alarmed us as they have many AAP members. Today, I will be at the border with AAP President-Elect Sally Goza, MD, FAAP. We will use this opportunity to amplify our advocacy for immigrant children and families and we look forward to sharing more with you when we return.
We must make immediate, permanent changes to the way we treat immigrant children when they come here. We will share this message on the ground this week just as we have shared it in the media, including recently on NPR, the Associated Press and CNN.
AAP policy is clear:
- Children should not be detained; no amount of detention is safe for a child.
- Children fleeing violence have a right to seek asylum in the United States.
- At a minimum, children must be guaranteed basic humanitarian standards when they are in federal custody.
- All Customs and Border Protection (CBP) facilities that hold children must provide medical care, adequate nutrition, including clean drinking water, shelter, infant formula and baby food, access to hygiene, including showers and handwashing, and essential items like diapers.
- Children should never be separated from their parents or caregivers unless a competent family court determines it.
- The Department of Health and Human Services Office of Refugee Resettlement should be adequately funded to care and provide post-release services for unaccompanied children.
The House passed an emergency funding package as a response to the humanitarian crisis at the border last night, and now the Senate will consider its own package.
How you can take action now:
Contact your members of Congress and tell them to require humanitarian standards for children in CBP custody as part of a final emergency funding package. Take action here. You can also go to federaladvocacy.aap.org and click on “Support Humanitarian Standards for Children in CBP Custody” in the Advocacy Action Center.
Thank you for your ongoing commitment to advocacy on behalf of immigrant children. You will continue to hear from us about how you can use your voice to speak out.