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What Can We Do: Use Your Voice


Media and advocates are interested in more stories and faces of this story.  It may be difficult for families to commit to telling their stories, but you can also speak to the effects of these practices via an op-ed.  If you feel that you can offer some insight, a story, or have a family that would like to share let the AAP know.  The AAP is interested in hearing about these stories and can offer technical assistance for op-eds. 


Email for assistance:  Tamar Haro ( ) , Devin Miller ( )


Here are some talking points consistently used by the AAP:


  • “It is the position of the AAP that children in the custody of their parents should never be detained, nor should they be separated from a parent, unless a competent family court makes that determination. In every decision about children, government decision-makers should prioritize the best interests of the child.”


  • “Separating children from their parents contradicts everything we stand for as pediatricians – protecting and promoting children’s health.”


  • Children do not immigrate, they flee. Parents will continue to flee violence to protect their children and themselves and seek safe haven in our country.



  • Studies overwhelmingly demonstrate the irreparable harm to children caused by separation from their parents.  As children develop, their brains change in response to environments and experiences. Highly stressful experiences can disrupt the building of children’s brain architecture. Prolonged exposure to serious stress – known as toxic stress – can harm the developing brain and harm short- and long-term health.  A parent or caregiver’s role is to mitigate stress. Family separation robs children of that buffer, which can lead to toxic stress, impair brain development and learning and contribute to chronic conditions like depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and heart disease.




You can also share your thoughts or the words of others on social media (facebook, twitter, etc) to bring awareness to the issue.


Twitter handles of all US Members of Congress

JOIN the Twitter Storm.

  • Sample Tweets

    • Children are being separated from their parents for seeking #asylum. Not only is this cruel, it undermines #dueprocess. #FamiliesBelongTogether

    • DOJ and DHS’ new policy has separated 658 children form their families in the first 13 days according to the government’s own reports, needlessly traumatizing children and parents  #FamiliesBelongTogether

    • Every day, the US government is intentionally separating children from their families.  This administration has proven that whether it’s at the border or in detention, it cannot be trusted with the care of children. #FamiliesBelongTogether


Many local, state, and national organizations and have publicly spoken out against the separation of families, detention of children, and other harmful immigration policies.  Consider bringing awareness to your organization and encouraging a statement in opposition to the practice of family separation.  Your organization, or in collaboration with other organizations, may want to start a local campaign towards stopping this practice.

Op-Ed/Media Examples

  • Video of Dr. Julie Linton on Anderson Cooper 360

  • Dr. Alan Shapiro's segment from Don Lemon

  • Interview with Dr. Andres Cotton on Univison, Despierta America.

  • Dr Marsha Griffin interviewed on the Rachel Maddow Show, MSNBC

  • Dr. Janine Young speaks on Telemundo Denver

Statements from Organizations

  • Letter to Donald Trump from the American Psychological Association

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