Statement from the Children’s Defense Fund: Trump administration’s actions to separate immigrant families will do lasting harm to children

We are horrified by and condemn the Trump administration’s imminent plans to conduct mass deportation roundups of immigrant families, which will do real and lasting harm to countless children.

This is the latest in a long string of actions by this administration meant to tear families apart and sow fear and panic among immigrant communities. The hostile, xenophobic rhetoric of the administration is so pervasive that even very young children now live with the daily fear of losing a parent.

The Department of Homeland Security has said that parents detained while their children are at day care or summer camp may be deported while their children are left behind. Deportations and family separations have dire consequences for children’s mental health and well-being, and put enormous strain on communities—especially the already over-burdened child welfare system.

That the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and Immigration and Customs Enforcement refer to this action as the “family op” reinforces this administration’s callous disregard for the children’s lives that will be harmed and the families that will be torn apart by these actions. Targeting children and families in an effort to create fear among immigrant communities is immoral and runs counter to the values upon which this country was built.

We urge the administration to stop separating children from their parents. We call on Congress to refuse to fund President Trump’s deportation plan. And we urge state and local officials to speak out against this action and equip their communities with the resources they need to support impacted families.

It is our moral duty as a nation to protect and defend all children, regardless of where they come from or the color of their skin.