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Families separated at border under Trump suffer severe trauma study | American immigration

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Children and parents forcibly separated at the US-Mexico border under Donald Trump’s zero tolerance policy are showing signs of severe psychological trauma and mental health disturbances that have persisted even after their reunion, a report revealed. new study.

Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) has published the first qualitative analysis to be performed on the mental health effects of Trump’s highly controversial policy on enforced family separation that has sparked outrage and condemnation around the world.

Between 2017 and 2018, the U.S. government under Trump’s leadership separated more than 5,000 children, the youngest of whom were only four months old, from their parents in an attempt to deter other potential asylum seekers fleeing the country. violence and persecution in Central America. As of September, 1,677 children had not yet been reunited with their parents, including 381 children whose status and fate were unknown.

In its groundbreaking new study, PHR brought together trained clinical experts, including psychologists, psychiatrists, and pediatricians, to delve into the medical and legal documents of 31 of the separated children and parents. The study group included asylum seekers from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador and included 19 parents and 12 children, the youngest of whom was six when they were taken from their families.

Clinicians diagnosed everyone in the study group with at least one mental health problem resulting from the suffering they faced while fleeing their home country, combined with the devastating trauma of being separated from their home. family by US border officials. The most common conditions were post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), major depressive disorder, and generalized anxiety.

The most shocking result was that severe psychological distress in some cases persisted long after parents and children were reunited. A six-year-old Guatemalan girl suffered from PTSD one year after being reunited with his parents, while an eight-year-old boy had severe symptoms of PTSD and separation anxiety two years later.

Clinicians have recorded a series of symptoms that commonly occur as a result of traumatic experiences, including feelings of confusion and panic, depression, frequent crying, nightmares and other sleep problems, and loss of sleep. appetite. Among the children, several exhibited regressive behaviors such as crying, attachment to parents or caregivers, incontinence and uncontrollable fear.

PHR said the overall conclusion of its study was that U.S. officials intentionally inflicted severe pain and suffering on Central American asylum seekers in order to punish them and coerce them into not pursuing their asylum claims. The report said the actions of US immigration officials amounted to torture and cruel and inhuman treatment as defined by international law.

This analysis shows the trauma and agony endured by parents and children who have been forcibly separated from each other, and the aggravating toll the trauma has on mental and physical health, lingers with these people for weeks on end. months and years after they were reunited, said Ranit Mishori, PHR’s senior medical adviser and study co-author.

Mishori added: The policy of forced family separation violated human rights and resulted in severe and lasting psychological damage.

As part of one of his first steps as president, Joe Biden set up an interagency task force to oversee the reunification of families separated by his predecessor. The Biden administration is in talks about possible financial compensation to affected families, although there has been some confusion over the size of the payments.

PHR said its study underscored the urgent need for mental health treatment for parents and children. He called on the Biden administration to act on reparations, including a formal apology from the US government, a financial settlement and lawsuits against officials who enforced the zero tolerance policy.

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2/ https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2021/nov/24/trump-family-separations-trauma-study

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