Dr. Colleen Kraft, the president of the American Academy of Pediatrics, said Monday that President Trump’s “zero tolerance” policy separating families at the U.S.-Mexico border “amounts to child abuse,” laying out in detail what she witnessed when she toured an immigration detention center.
“I can’t describe to you the room I was in with the toddlers,” Kraft said on CNN. “Normally toddlers are rambunctious and running around. We had one child just screaming and crying, and the others were really silent. And this is not normal activity or brain development with these children.”
Kraft added that the emotional strain the children are under creates “toxic stress,” inhibiting the development of their brains.
“It disrupts their brain architecture and keeps them from developing language and social, emotional bonds, and gross motor skills, and the development that they could possibly have,” she said.
Kraft stated that Trump’s policy amounts to “government-sanctioned child abuse,” saying that the U.S. government is taking away the one constant in these children’s lives.
The Hill added:
Kraft’s comments come as the Trump policy that separates families at the U.S.-Mexico border faces increasing scrutiny from lawmakers on both sides of the aisle. The policy, which was announced in April, calls for the Department of Homeland Security to separate any child crossing the U.S.-Mexico border between ports of entry with adults before those adults are prosecuted.
DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen has continually defended the policy, and on Monday said that children are being taken care of in immigration detention centers.
Trump also defended the policy on Monday, saying that the U.S. will not become a “migrant camp.”