In response to reports that the Biden administration is considering reinstating the policy of detaining migrant families, the following statement is attributable to Ranit Mishori, MD, MHS, senior medical advisor for Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) and professor of family medicine at Georgetown University School of Medicine:
“There is no ‘safe’ duration of detention for children, even if detained alongside their parents. Whether a child’s detention lasts 20 minutes, 20 days, or 20 weeks, detention is inherently harmful. Even brief periods of detention can have severe developmental, behavioral, psychological, emotional, and health-related consequences for children. All of these negative impacts have been documented extensively in the medical literature.
Community-based alternatives to detention have been shown to be effective, safe, and humane. Instead of returning to abusive and dangerous Trump-era policies, the Biden administration should protect the health, rights, and wellbeing of children by embracing alternatives to detention.
If the administration proceeds with a reinstatement of this heinous policy, it is an affront to medical ethics, human rights, and the President’s repeated campaign promises.”
Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) is a New York-based advocacy organization that uses science and medicine to prevent mass atrocities and severe human rights violations. Learn more here.