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Children in migrant detention centers

Children in migrant detention centers
08 Aug 2019 by Lori Kowit

Dear Friends,

I want to share with you a topic that I am passionate about, the children in migrant detention centers. As someone who spends every day with young children, watching on the news what is occurring just breaks my heart. 

I just think about how sad and scared these children must be, separated from their families and living in an unfamiliar place.   

In mid-June, attorney and children’s-rights advocate Warren Binford gained access to a Clint, Texas Border Patrol facility where 351 migrant children were detained; more than 100 were under 13 years old, with the youngest just over 4 months.  

Children are being separated from their families and placed in what I believe are inadequate facilities.  Center employees, who are not their parents, are punishing these children, including making them sleep on the floor. This is not right.

Can you imagine what the long-term effects will be on these children? Past studies have found that children who are subject to traumatic events, such as what these migrant children are going through, experience a stress response commonly known as fight or flight.

 Many times, if this fight or flight response is prolonged, it can change a child’s brain architecture. The consequences include learning difficulties, increased depression, and other social and emotional lasting effects.

As professionals, who spend our days protecting and helping young children grow mentally and physically, we need to make our voices heard on this matter.