Proposed child immigration change poses new threat

Indefinite detention of undocumented immigrant children will exacerbate the risks to their health and safety, cautions the Michigan Chapter, American Academy of Pediatrics (MIAAP).

“President Donald Trump’s latest proposal to lift the current 20-day limit for children’s detention is another threat to their safety,” says Jared Burkhart, MIAAP executive director.  “It is a misguided effort to stem the number of families attempting to enter the U.S.  We urge the federal justice system to put children’s safety first as it considers the proposal and retain the current 20-day detention limit.”

MIAAP joins other advocates for children in denouncing the proposed regulation, suggesting that Mr. Trump and the administration are purposely treating families and children poorly in order to reduce the number of immigrants attempting to enter the country.

“If approved, the new rule would allow the administration to send families caught crossing the border illegally to family residential centers until their cases are decided, often taking many months,” Burkhart explains.  “Conditions in existing centers have been described as overcrowded and inhumane.” 

The 20-day detention limit has been in place since 2015, stemming from a 1997 class action lawsuit that argued the physical and emotional harm on children resulting from extended detention. 

MIAAP is a nonprofit, professional organization of more than 1,400 Michigan pediatricians, dedicated to optimal physical, mental and social health for all infants, children, adolescents and young adults.