As Minnesota pediatricians, our utmost concern is for the health and wellbeing of children, both here within our state and elsewhere in the world. Recent findings published in Pediatrics by MNAAP member Charles Oberg, MD, MPH, FAAP, and others, rightly calls out the treatment of migrant children crossing the southern border of the United States, including sleep deprivation, poor conditions of detention, and separation of children from their parents, as torture. This horrific situation speaks directly to our calling as advocates for children.
The Minnesota Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics (MNAAP) recognizes that the maltreatment of these migrant children is inflicting life-changing trauma and it must stop immediately. Our duty as pediatricians is to protect children from harm, and that includes harm perpetuated by the government. Furthermore, we believe that accountability is imperative. This includes the reunification of families that have undergone separation, trauma-sensitive and trauma-informed care, in other words care that is grounded in the principles of promoting safety, healing, and empowerment, that is accessible for all affected children and their families.
Ending the abuse of migrant children must be a collective effort:
- We urge our fellow health practitioners to fight together to protect families.
- We advocate for policies and practices that stop current torture and prevent future torture at the border.
- We encourage our pediatric colleagues to prepare to screen and care for children and teens who have suffered so greatly at such a young age.
- We recommend all people learn their elected officials’ positions on immigration and the treatment of children at the border, and contact those officials to voice their concern.
If you are specifically interested in this issue, please contact Melissa DeBilzan at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn how you can help bring awareness to this issue.