Washington, DC—In response to a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) “zero tolerance” policy for addressing illegal border crossings in the Southern United States, Paul Kivela, MD, FACEP, president of the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) released the following statement opposing the federal policy:
“ACEP recognizes the right of the United States to regulate immigration and secure its borders, but as emergency physicians, a policy of separating children and parents suspected of entering the U.S. illegally is cruel and will do great harm to the children.
“These separations result in significant health risks for both children and their parents. Children without criminal records or increased security concerns whose parents seek haven in the United States should never be placed in detention facilities.
“We join other professional medical organizations in opposing this current policy and call on the federal government to immediately change course regarding the separation of immigrant families with children, and instead, give priority to protecting the health and well-being of the vulnerable children within these families.”