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Damage May Already Be Done: Separating Children From Parents

June 20, 2018 - 7:35 pm

DETROIT (WWJ) - A moral outcry from almost every sector of society has overturned a GOP led policy to separate children from their parents but the damage has already been inflicted to the most vulnerable. 

While President Donald Trump has signed an executive order allowing parents and children who illegally cross the southern border to stay together -- Dr. Jacek Debiec -- a University of Michigan psychiatrist and neuroscientist tells WWJ the effect on the children who were separated from their parents may be long-lasting.

"For an infant and a young child the presence of the parent is the most critical factor in life," says Debiec. "The presence of the parent provides the feeling of safety for the child, and here the disruption of the feeling of safety causes enormous stress for a child, and some of these effects of the stress could be really lifelong and profound.

"There were studies of children in a war zone but the children that were with the parents and the parents who were able to provide care and despite the circumstances, these children were quite resilient."

Debiec says the longer the separation between the child and parent, the more impact it is likely to have to the child's psychological well-being.

In the Oval Office today Mr. Trump said "We are keeping families together while adding, "We have zero tolerance for people who enter our country illegally."

Bowing to pressure from anxious allies, Trump signed an executive order Wednesday ending the process of separating children from families after they are detained crossing the U.S. border illegally.

It was a dramatic turnaround for Trump, who has been insisting, wrongly, that his administration had no choice but to separate families apprehended at the border because of federal law and a court decision.