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June 21, 2018

Rep. Barragán calls for providing mental health care to separated immigrant children

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The Trump administration’s inhumane separation of children from their families will likely have lasting, traumatizing effects on those impacted.

To address this, Rep. Nanette Diaz Barragán, D-San Pedro, has introduced the “Mental Health Care for Children Inhumanely Separated from Parents by the Federal Government Act” to help the child victims of the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” policy at the border.

“Children can develop separation anxiety and problems with trust and unresolved anger. If these problems go untreated, it can lead to deeper issues like post-traumatic stress disorder and suicidal behavior. We owe it to these children and we owe it to these families to provide them with the help they need,” said Rep. Barragán in a statement.

Her proposal, co-sponsored by Rep. Bennie Thompson, ranking member on the House Homeland Security Committee, would require mental health evaluations of separated children and provide mental health treatment accordingly.

The proposal comes just days after the American Psychological Associated warned the Trump administation of the potentially deleterious consequences of its actions.

“Families fleeing their homes to seek sanctuary in the United States are already under a tremendous amount of stress,” they wrote in a letter to the administration. “Sudden and unexpected family separation, such as separating families at the border, can add to that stress, leading to emotional trauma in children.”

Barragán’s proposal raises important attention to the psychological trauma the Trump administration has imposed on immigrant children who did nothing wrong. I hope it gains traction.