For Immediate Release
Contact: Rob Grant, Communications Director
202.966.7300, Ext. 119
Samantha Phillips, Communications Coordinator
202.966.7300, Ext. 154
AACAP Releases Statement on Immigration Executive Orders
Washington, DC, February 1, 2017 – Representing over 9,200 members, the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP) is a professional organization dedicated to promoting the healthy development of children, adolescents, and families. Our membership includes physicians from 61 countries, and we treat the youngest patients across America without regard to their race, religion, ethnicity, or immigration status. We view children's mental health as a non-partisan issue that affects every family in the United States, and we eagerly share our expertise with any government official or agency seeking to protect the mental health and well-being of children, youth, and families.
Recent Executive Orders on immigration are at odds with the fundamental mission and values of AACAP. We are especially concerned because our members are telling us stories of children coming in for treatment who are expressing fear and anxiety about the possibility of their parents being deported or not being allowed back in the country after traveling. We also have heard about a young child being separated from his parents at the airport. What is a relatively brief separation in the eyes of adults can leave indelible scars on the psyche of a developing child. Chronic anxiety, feelings of not belonging or being wanted, and bullying can permanently damage children's brains, development, and their future potential.
A significant number of AACAP's physician members are international medical graduates who are training or practicing in the United States and came here as immigrants from other countries. Their cultural diversity, work ethic, and commitment to their patients and families enhance our child and adolescent psychiatry workforce, which is in severe shortage and is presently inadequate to serve the needs of America's children. Without child and adolescent psychiatrists coming from other countries, access to needed mental health services would be impossible in many areas of the United States. These devoted professionals deserve our support and gratitude for their commitment to serving America’s children.
Our knowledge, compassion, and clinical expertise are hallmarks of AACAP membership, and our comments are offered to advance pediatric mental health. As always, we urge our AACAP members to advocate for their patients and colleagues on matters of public policy by contacting their elected representatives.
Representing 9,200+ child and adolescent psychiatrists nationwide, the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP) is the leading authority on children's mental health.
AACAP Members actively research, diagnose and treat psychiatric disorders affecting children, adolescents and their families. For more information please visit www.aacap.org.