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9/24/2018
PPA's 2018 Advocacy Day

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PPA Statement June 2018

PENNSYLVANIA PSYCHOLOGICAL ASSOCIATION
THE TRAUMATIC EFFECTS OF SEPARATING IMMIGRANT FAMILIES

The Pennsylvania Psychological Association (PPA) is the professional association representing psychologists in Pennsylvania. Our members work in private practices, at colleges and universities, schools, in public mental health centers, hospitals, and in integrated care programs providing services to children, adolescents, adults, and older adults. As a nonpartisan, non-profit, professional membership organization, PPA promotes the science and practice of psychology by supporting psychologists as they meet the evolving needs of the public.


In light of recent national events, PPA strongly endorses the statements made by Dr. Jessica Henderson Daniel, the President of the American Psychological Association, regarding the harmful impact on the mental health of immigrant children and families, many of whom are fleeing violence in their countries of origin by coming to the United States, only to be separated and interned. (http://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/2018/05/separating-immigrant-families.aspx ). Scientific literature documents that separating children from their parents threatens the mental and physical health of both the children and their caregivers. The longer that they are separated, the greater the reported symptoms of anxiety and depression for the children, in addition to possible attachment difficulties and trauma, which can adversely affect later emotional and social development and academic performance.


PPA urges federal officials, including our members of Congress, to rescind this policy and keep immigrant families intact. We also urge all Pennsylvania psychologists to speak out against this harmful and unethical practice given what the evidence shows regarding the effects of such a practice. The United States can and should have a practical, moral, and humane border policy.

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