American Academy of Pediatrics president: Trump family separation policy is ‘child abuse’

The president of the American Academy of Pediatrics on Monday said President Trump’s “zero tolerance” policy separating families at the U.S.-Mexico border “amounts to child abuse.” 

Dr. Colleen Kraft in an appearance on CNN described the many ways Trump’s policy emotionally harms children and laid out in detail what she witnessed when she toured an immigration detention center. 

“I can’t describe to you the room I was in with the toddlers,” Kraft said. “Normally toddlers are rambunctious and running around. We had one child just screaming and crying, and the others were really silent. And this is not normal activity or brain development with these children.”


Kraft added that the emotional strain the children in these facilities are under produces a condition called “toxic stress” and that it inhibits the development of their brains. 

“It disrupts their brain architecture and keeps them from developing language and social, emotional bonds, and gross motor skills, and the development that they could possibly have,” she said.

Kraft stated that Trump’s policy amounts to “government-sanctioned child abuse” when asked by CNN host Kate Bolduan, saying that the U.S. government is taking away the one constant in these children’s lives. 

Kraft’s comments come as the Trump policy that separates families at the U.S.-Mexico border faces increasing scrutiny from lawmakers on both sides of the aisle. The policy, which was announced in April, calls for the Department of Homeland Security to separate any child crossing the U.S.-Mexico border between ports of entry from the adults with them before those adults are prosecuted. 

DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen has continually defended the policy, and on Monday said children are being taken care of in immigration detention centers. 

Trump also came to the defense of the policy on Monday, saying the U.S. will not become a “migrant camp.”