Thumbnail Image

Refugees, asylum seekers, and trauma: An examination of family separation policy at the southern US border

Perez Chamu, Rachel
On May 7, 2018, the Trump Administration and the Department of Justice (DOJ) implemented the "Zero Tolerance Policy" in hopes of enforcing more restrictive and deterrence driven border policy. The "Zero Tolerance Policy" instructed The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to prosecute anyone caught illegally crossing the border into the United States, which included those seeking asylum and families with children. Upon prosecution adults and children were separated and sent to different facilities. Although Trump ended the policy officially in June of 2018, approximately 5,500 families were separated, and some are still separated today. The analysis of the "Zero Tolerance Policy" finds that the immigration policy was traumatizing and will likely have life-long impacts on the mental health and development of migrant children and families. Based on the results of the policy analysis, The Family Case Management Program (FCMP), is recommended as a policy alternative to the "Zero Tolerance" policy, due to its immigrant-centered focus and provision of services and assistance that is humane, does not harm families, and results in higher rates of compliance.