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NC Moms Protest ICE Raids, Family Separation’s Devastating Effect on Children

Family separation can cause serious psychological damage to migrant children. (Adobe Stock)
Family separation can cause serious psychological damage to migrant children. (Adobe Stock)
July 29, 2019

RALEIGH, N.C. — Amid President Donald Trump's announcement of an increase in nationwide ICE raids and immigration arrests this month, mothers and activists have mobilized across the state to protest the detention and separation of thousands of migrant children from their families.

Durham resident Shelia Arias of the organization Moms Rising said the trauma and psychological impact family separation has on children cannot be overstated.

"And then we think about with the children that are in camps that don't even speak the language, they don't even know how to communicate,” Arias said. “They come from very, very hard backgrounds, and so it hits home. It's really hard to think about those kinds of things."

Recent news reports have highlighted unsanitary conditions, disease and extreme overcrowding at migrant detention centers. At least five migrant children have died while in U.S. custody.

Arias said North Carolina legislators should be working to ensure migrant children - and all children in the state - are healthy and safe.

"American moms reject President Trump's immigration policies and we will continue to raise our voice,” she said. “Most of all, we really need to think of this as our kids. This is not just the kids on the border; this is impacting all kids."

The American Association of Pediatrics has issued a policy statement noting the harmful physical and mental health impacts of detaining children, and recommending children should never be detained, nor should they be separated from a parent.

Nadia Ramlagan, Public News Service - NC