OWLS Statement Opposing Family Separation at Border

June 29, 2018

Oregon Women Lawyers strongly opposes any policy of separating minor children from their parents when families present for asylum or cross the border into the United States for any reason. OWLS also strongly opposes any policy of placing minor children in immigration detention facilities. These unnecessarily cruel actions violate due process and are antithetical to OWLS’ commitment to ensuring justice and equality.

The American Academy of Pediatrics has pointed out that by removing children from a parent or parents on whom they have relied throughout an arduous journey to the border, the U.S. government is engaging in child abuse that can result in irreparable harm with lifelong consequences.

The American Medical Association has adopted a resolution opposing the practice of separating migrating children from their caregivers in the absence of immediate physical or emotional threats to the child’s well-being.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights has severely criticized the U.S. border policy of separating migrant minor children from their parents, calling such actions ‘unconscionable.’

The separation of families and detention of minor children causes grave harm to children and their families. This inhumane policy has overwhelmed the criminal justice system and causes inefficiencies in the immigration court system when children, as young as toddlers, appear in court on their own, with no right to appointed counsel.

While the recent executive order appears to stop the routine practice of separating children from their parents, it does not present a lasting solution. OWLS calls on immigration authorities to immediately return the over 2,300 minor children who have been separated from their families to their parents. OWLS calls on congressional leadership to enact laws that will prevent these practices from ever recurring.

{We acknowledge the American Academy of Pediatrics, the New York State Bar Association, and the American Medical Association for their contributions to this statement.}

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