"Today, I joined nonprofit colleagues from around the nation in condemning the horrifying actions being taken by our government to separate young children from their parents at our southern border. As a mental health advocate, I recognize that these children and families were already subjected to major trauma when they arrived at our border. They often experienced violence we can only imagine in their towns and villages. They were subjected to the daily trauma of making their way north along unsafe roads and pathways to reach the safety of our border. Now, we are subjecting them to another horror. We are tearing families apart when they arrive.
"Credible reports have surfaced that the conditions to which we are subjecting these children and families are both cruel and inhumane. The few videos we have seen support this conclusion. Some administration officials have made false claims that they have been forced to treat children this way. This is dishonest. It distorts reality. This cruelty has a profound effect on the mental health of children and their families. Repetitive trauma does short- and long-term damage.
"Elected officials cannot claim to be sympathetic to the mental health needs of any population if they neither take immediate action to correct this situation, nor acknowledge the harm being done to thousands of children. All of us who signed this statement have worked closely with – and have admiration for – many members of both parties. Both parties need to step up – now – and fight for the principles on which our country was reaffirmed by President Lincoln – that we act with malice toward none and charity toward all." The text of the full Leadership 18 statement.
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