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    February 21, 2019 at 4:13 pm #2358
    1. WHEREAS, a zero-tolerance immigration policy is defined as the immediate prosecution and
    2. detention of adults entering the country illegally, without exception for those seeking asylum or
    3. accompanied by minors;1 and
    4. WHEREAS, zero-tolerance immigration policies have the added effect of separating children
    5. from their families at the time of detention;1 and
    6. WHEREAS, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics in 2017, the basic standards of
    7. care for immigrant children in detention in the US were not met; specifically there were
    8. “egregious conditions in processing centers included inadequate bathing and toilet facilities,
    9. constant light exposure, children sleeping on concrete floors, confiscation of belongings,
    10. insufficient food, denial of access to thorough medical care, lack of mental health support plus
    11. physical and emotional maltreatment;”2 and
    12. WHEREAS, children accumulating Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs), such as the trauma
    13. of being separated from their families and being placed in separate detention centers that do not
    14. adequately meet their basic needs, experience increased risks of cancer, heart disease, mental
    15. health disorders, other diseases, and early death;1,4,5 and
    16. WHEREAS, separation of families fleeing persecution in their home countries led to an increase
    17. in depression/anxiety and posttraumatic stress disorder;6 and
    18. WHEREAS, there is evidence that this separation from their families can damage the children’s
    19. attachment relationships, cause toxic stress, and even led to greater health disparities;1 and
    20. WHEREAS, alternative approaches to detention centers exist and are more humane and less
    21. expensive;3 and
    22. WHEREAS, there is no empirical evidence to demonstrate that threats of detainment deter
    23. individuals from seeking asylum;7 and
    24. WHEREAS, statements condemning the separation of immigrant families have already been
    25. issued by the Royal College of Pediatrics and Child Health, the American Academy of
    26. Pediatrics, the Canadian Pediatric Society, the American Medical Association, the Canadian
    27. Medical Association, and the International Society for Social Pediatrics & Child Health;6 and
    28. WHEREAS, according to the American Osteopathic Association’s code of ethics, section 13,
    29. “A physician shall respect the law. When necessary a physician shall attempt to help to formulate
    30. the law by all proper means in order to improve patient care and public health;”8 Therefore, be it
    31. RESOLVED, that the Student Osteopathic Medical Association 31 oppose zero-tolerance
    32. immigration policies, especially policies where children are separated from their families; and,
    33. be it further
    34. RESOLVED, that the American Osteopathic Association oppose zero-tolerance immigration
    35. policies, especially policies where children are separated from their families; and, be it further
    36. RESOLVED, that the American Osteopathic Association act to combat existing and future
    37. efforts to create, enforce, or legislate similar zero-tolerance immigration policies.


    1. Wood, L.C.N. (2018). Impact of punitive immigration policies, parent-child separation and child detention on the mental health and development of children. BMJ Paediatrics Open, 2 (1). Retrieved from: doi:10.1136/bmjpo-2018-000338
    2. Linton, J., Griffin, M., Shapiro, A. (2017) Detention of Immigrant Children. Retrieved from: http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/139/5/e20170483.long.
    3. A Guide to Children Arriving at the Border: Laws, Policies and Responses. In (June 2015 ed.). American Immigration Council.
    4. Felitti, V.J., Anda, R.F., Nordenberg, D., et al (1998). Relationship of Childhood Abuse and Household Dysfunction to Many of the Leading Causes of Death in Adults: The Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) Study. American Journal of Preventative Medicine, 14(4), 245-258.
    5. About Adverse Childhood Experiences. https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/acestudy/about_ace.html. Accessed January 31, 2019.
    6. Miller, A., Hess, J.M., Bybee, D., et al (2019). Understanding the mental health consequences of family separation for refugees: Implications for policy and practice. American Journal of Orthospychiatry, 88(1), 26-37.
    7. There are alternatives: A handbook for preventing unnecessary immigration detention. (2015). International Detention Coalition.
    8. American Osteopathic Association Code of Ethics. (July 24, 2016). Retrieved from https://osteopathic.org/about/leadership/aoa-governance-documents/code-of-ethics/

    Submitted by:
    Marijo Botten, OMS I – Des Moines University
    Jacob Nelson, OMS I – Des Moines University
    Brittany Wilson, OMS I – Des Moines University
    Alyssa Averhoff, OMS I – Des Moines University

    Action Taken:

    Effective Time Period: