Attachment theory and research has become the most important theory of socioemotional development in the world. The evidence showing the traumatic effects of separating parents from their children is overwhelming. This trauma only adds to the horrors these Central Americans have experienced from violence in their own countries. In addition, they are often extorted for money or abused in their trip through Mexico to reach the border with the United States.

The Trump’s administration policy of separating children from their parents is not a political issue. It is a moral issue. To remain silent in the face of government-sponsored child abuse is to be complicit with this abomination. As mental health practitioners, it is our duty to report child abuse. As citizens we most rise up to denounce this immense cruelty inflicted on families and children.

Our collective outrage against this inhumane treatment of undocumented immigrants forced Trump to back down. His administration now wants to put these parents and children in detention centers—that for all practical purposes are jails. It is false that we have to choose between draconian and inhumane measures to keep undocumented immigrants from entering this country and having open borders. We can have safe boarders and treat immigrants humanly. Parents and children can be kept together by placing bracelets on parents and offering case management services to help them navigate the byzantine immigration system. Ninety-six % of parents who use bracelets show up for their court hearing. This is not only a more human policy; it is also 25 times cheaper than to lock families up in jails.

Mauricio Cortina, M.D., Director, Attachment and Human Development Center, Washington School of Psychiatry
Sonia Gojman de Millan PhD
Adult Attachment Interview Certified Trainer
Former Secretary General of the International Federation of Psychoanalytic Societies. IFPS

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