Statement by: Sara H. “Sally” Goza, MD, FAAP, President-Elect, American Academy of Pediatrics
“The American Academy of Pediatrics applauds today’s ruling by Judge Dolly Gee that rejects a plan by the Administration to dismantle broad protections for children put in place by the Flores Settlement Agreement. Today’s ruling will prevent dangerous changes to the agreement that would have allowed immigrant children to be held in unsafe federal detention facilities for months, years, or even indefinitely.
“No amount of time in detention is safe for a child. The evidence is clear and pediatricians’ own observations of Department of Homeland Security (DHS) facilities confirm it. The conditions are prison-like, with metal fences, cold, concrete floors, no privacy, unpalatable food, and no access to pediatricians. Children detained in these facilities suffer physical and emotional stress, which increases their risk of serious short and long-term health problems, developmental delays, anxiety and depression.
"The Administration’s attempt to weaken protections for children runs counter to the Flores Settlement Agreement, making it more likely that children would be detained for even longer in conditions unfit for any child. We are grateful to Judge Gee for rejecting the Administration’s proposal. Attempts to roll back protections for children through regulation or legislation should be rejected.”
The American Academy of Pediatrics is an organization of 67,000 primary care pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical specialists dedicated to the health, safety and well-being of infants, children, adolescents and young adults. For more information, visit www.aap.org and follow us on Twitter @AmerAcadPeds