The National Physicians Alliance (NPA) strongly urges the Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security to end the policy of separating asylum-seeking families at the border.

As physicians, we know that detaining and separating families and children is traumatic and harmful and can cause long-lasting physical,  cognitive, psychological and emotional damage. Moreover, keeping children in detention in enclosed areas, forcing children to sleep on concrete floors, use open toilets, not have access to regular bathing facilities or the outdoors, and exposed to extreme temperatures can be extremely traumatizing and unhealthy. Further, all children need the love and support of familiar caregivers to thrive and develop.

It is legal to seek asylum in the United States and families seeking asylum must be kept together in community-based settings while their immigration proceedings are pending.

We must keep the best interest of the children at the forefront and stop the practice of forced separation. It is inhumane. It is cruel. It is un-American. This policy must end immediately.