By Sam Piha
In expanded learning programs, we are seeking to learn the effects of childhood trauma and design programs that integrate trauma informed practice. Thus, we were horrified by the Trump Administration’s practice of “zero tolerance” which inflicts trauma on children and youth.
Below, we post a statement by our colleagues at the Forum for Youth Investment on this topic. We have also published several LIAS blog posts on the issue of immigration and young people.
The Forum for Youth Investment stands with our partners and peer organizations in expressing deep concerns over the Trump administration's immigration policy and its impact on children and families.
On June 20, President Trump issued an Executive Order to reverse his administration's policy of separating children from their parents. The "zero tolerance" policy that separated more than 2,300 children from their parents was inhumane and unjustifiable, but the approach that is likely to replace it is only a small improvement and falls far short of what we should demand of our nation.
In particular, the policy to allow indeterminate detention of entire families is morally indefensible. It is also counter to everything that science tells us about child and youth development, health and well-being and the impact of trauma on young brains. As many physicians' associations have noted, these children are experiencing trauma that will likely follow them for the rest of their lives.
Therefore, we implore the Trump administration to move swiftly to end this inhumane practice and to focus on reunifying separated children with their families as quickly as possible. We also strongly advocate for the President to work with bipartisan congressional leaders to craft just and responsible long-term immigration solutions that have at their center the health and well-being of children, young people and their families.
Please visit SparkAction's Immigration Resources page for more resources and actions to take.
Sam Piha is the founder and principal of Temescal Associates, a consulting group dedicated to building the capacity of leaders and organizations in education and youth development.