David M. Perry writes:
When violence forces people to flee their homes and cross borders legally or illegally, seeking asylum or other forms of refuge in a peaceful place, they carry their traumas with them. That’s certainly true for many of the Central American immigrants who have tried to emigrate to the United States over recent years. Many of them have witnessed or experienced such horror as rape, torture and murder.What’s more, many of them, including children and teens, have been forced to participate in acts of violence themselves before fleeing. And when they get to the US and are put in custody, thanks to a relatively new policy passed by Scott Lloyd, Trump’s former director of the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR). As part of a 1997 court-ordered settlement establishing minimum detention standards for children, those children and teens are told they need to seek therapy; they are required to meet with counselors.According to the explanation offered to Congress by Steven Wagner, then overseeing ORR, children are told that it is essential to be honest about themselves with their therapists. But under the Trump administration, according to recent reporting from The Washington Post, officials from Immigration and Customs Enforcement take the therapists’ notes and use them as weapons against the teenage migrants.
Read more of his opinion piece on CNN.