- WHEREAS, a zero-tolerance immigration policy is defined as the immediate prosecution and
- detention of adults entering the country illegally, without exception for those seeking asylum or
- accompanied by minors;1 and
- WHEREAS, zero-tolerance immigration policies have the added effect of separating children
- from their families at the time of detention;1 and
- WHEREAS, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics in 2017, the basic standards of
- care for immigrant children in detention in the US were not met; specifically there were
- “egregious conditions in processing centers included inadequate bathing and toilet facilities,
- constant light exposure, children sleeping on concrete floors, confiscation of belongings,
- insufficient food, denial of access to thorough medical care, lack of mental health support plus
- physical and emotional maltreatment;”2 and
- WHEREAS, children accumulating Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs), such as the trauma
- of being separated from their families and being placed in separate detention centers that do not
- adequately meet their basic needs, experience increased risks of cancer, heart disease, mental
- health disorders, other diseases, and early death;1,4,5 and
- WHEREAS, separation of families fleeing persecution in their home countries led to an increase
- in depression/anxiety and posttraumatic stress disorder;6 and
- WHEREAS, there is evidence that this separation from their families can damage the children’s
- attachment relationships, cause toxic stress, and even led to greater health disparities;1 and
- WHEREAS, alternative approaches to detention centers exist and are more humane and less
- expensive;3 and
- WHEREAS, there is no empirical evidence to demonstrate that threats of detainment deter
- individuals from seeking asylum;7 and
- WHEREAS, statements condemning the separation of immigrant families have already been
- issued by the Royal College of Pediatrics and Child Health, the American Academy of
- Pediatrics, the Canadian Pediatric Society, the American Medical Association, the Canadian
- Medical Association, and the International Society for Social Pediatrics & Child Health;6 and
- WHEREAS, according to the American Osteopathic Association’s code of ethics, section 13,
- “A physician shall respect the law. When necessary a physician shall attempt to help to formulate
- the law by all proper means in order to improve patient care and public health;”8 Therefore, be it
- RESOLVED, that the Student Osteopathic Medical Association 31 oppose zero-tolerance
- immigration policies, especially policies where children are separated from their families; and,
- be it further
- RESOLVED, that the American Osteopathic Association oppose zero-tolerance immigration
- policies, especially policies where children are separated from their families; and, be it further
- RESOLVED, that the American Osteopathic Association act to combat existing and future
- efforts to create, enforce, or legislate similar zero-tolerance immigration policies.
- 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
- Linton, J., Griffin, M., Shapiro, A. (2017) Detention of Immigrant Children. Retrieved from: http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/139/5/e20170483.long.
- A Guide to Children Arriving at the Border: Laws, Policies and Responses. In (June 2015 ed.). American Immigration Council.
- 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.
- About Adverse Childhood Experiences. https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/acestudy/about_ace.html. Accessed January 31, 2019.
- 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.
- There are alternatives: A handbook for preventing unnecessary immigration detention. (2015). International Detention Coalition.
- American Osteopathic Association Code of Ethics. (July 24, 2016). Retrieved from https://osteopathic.org/about/leadership/aoa-governance-documents/code-of-ethics/
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
Effective Time Period: Ongoing
The forum Spring ’19 Resolution Forum is closed to new topics and replies