NAHN Family Separation Statement

The National Association of Hispanic Nurses (“NAHN”) condemns the Trump Administration policy of separating children from their families as they seek to enter the United States for asylum. NAHN further condemns the lack of family reunification and the horrific conditions in which children are currently being held as they wait.

NAHN is, first and foremost, an organization committed to its members and promotes the wellbeing and welfare of the population we serve, which includes those who are being impacted by the 1997 Flores v. Reno Settlement Agreement. The Flores v. Reno settlement agreement requires immigration officials to provide a minimum quality of life, including basic needs such as food, drinking water, medical assistance in emergencies, toilets, sinks, temperature control, supervision, and as much separation from unrelated adults as possible. Additionally, it bars immigration officials from detaining children for more than 20 days. On September 6, 2018, the Trump administration posted proposed regulations that would overturn protections for migrant children, which directly violates the 1997 Flores v. Reno settlement agreement. This rule would lower standards of care for children in immigration detention and allow long-term detention. NAHN condemns the proposed regulations as it directly contradicts our mission and values.

NAHN condemns the separation of families. After the Trump administration enacted the zero-tolerance policy, more than 2,500 children were separated from their families. Although the policy ended shortly after being enacted, extensive damage has already been inflicted on those 2,500 children. Further, despite a judge-ordered reunification of these children with their families, nearly 200 have yet to be reunited and remain unaccompanied. The Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) reports that over 13,300 children have been placed in custody since September 2018.

NAHN condemns the Trump Administration’s actions and proposed regulations because they are both inhumane and culturally insensitive. As nurses, we know the lifelong effects of stress on the body and the mind. We know the lifelong implications of adverse childhood events, such as cruel treatment and separation from family. The mistreatment of children seeking refuge and treatment has well-known negative effects and are being directly caused by the current administration's actions. As nurses, we vowed to uphold our professional Code of Ethics as set forth by the American Nurses Association (ANA). As nurses, Provision 1 of the Code of Ethics calls for us to promote, advocate for, and protect the rights, health, and safety of our patients. Provision 8 says that nurses collaborate with other health professionals and the public to protect human rights, promote health diplomacy, and reduce health disparities. Provision 8.4 specifically calls for
nurses to bring attention to human rights violations in all settings and contexts, in this case, the human rights protections of vulnerable groups such as refugees, women and children who are arriving at the U.S./Mexico border seeking asylum. The Trump Administrations’ actions of separating families, not properly reunifying children with their families, and all proposed regulations continuing these practices are not in line with the ANA Nursing Code of Ethics established and followed by our nursing profession.

NAHN will not tolerate this administration’s lack of compassion and disrespect of human beings. We strongly condemn the separation of families and call on the Trump Administration to quickly end the inhumane treatment causing irreparable consequences on the families, children, and communities.