In an op-ed in The Baltimore Sun, Nickole Miller, a clinical teaching fellow for the Immigrant Rights Clinic at the University of Baltimore School of Law, writes that any policy that leads to detaining children at the border—especially if that detention does not have a clear endpoint—is harmful, even traumatic.
“As an immigration attorney, I have witnessed the toll indefinite detention takes on children and parents,” Miller writes. “Last year, just before Christmas, I traveled to the Berks Family Residential Center in Leesport, Pa. Berks is one of the few immigration detention facilities in the country that holds families. Despite the holiday decorations, the families I met were depressed and distraught. Parents were confused about the immigration process and when they would be released. Children were crying and listless. One little girl kept telling me she just wanted to go home. Another boy told me he missed playing soccer with friends.”
Miller points to research by organizations such as the American Academy of Pediatrics that makes it clear: children in these settings are both physically and mentally harmed by the experience.
“Furthermore, indefinite detention of children violates internationally accepted human rights principals,” she says.
Read the op-ed.