“Something must be done quickly”
Child psychology expert warns of life-changing damage from child-parent separation of immigrants
19 June 2018
World Socialist Web Site reporter Eric London spoke to Professor Chris Fradkin, a Fulbright scholar and expert on child psychology who teaches in California and Brazil. In January, Fradkin published a comment on a recent study in the journal Frontiers in Pediatrics titled “Fear of massive deportations in the United States: Social implications on deprived pediatric communities.”
Eric London: What is your professional opinion of the impact of the Trump administration’s policy of separating immigrant children from their parents?
Chris Fradkin: I agree with my colleague Dr. Colleen Kraft, president of the American Academy of Pediatrics, who called the family separation policy “child abuse.” It is a form of child abuse that is particularly affecting children of brown skin whose parents do not speak the language of the country they’re seeking refuge in.
EL: How will being separated from their parents impact immigrant children in the long run?
CF: This will certainly affect some of these children long-term. We are talking about trauma. Scientifically, this means compromised language and speech, deficits in motor skills, and in some cases developmental delays related to this trauma. There is no other word for this other than trauma.
There is trauma to the parents too. If the infant is physically removed from your breast and you cannot do anything about it, that mother may never see her child again. The guilt that she is going to endure is immeasurable.
EL: What have you come across in your research that helps explain the impact of family separation?
CF: In the 1950s, Harry Harlow ran a…