D.C. – The National
Association of Social Workers (NASW) is deeply troubled and concerned about Trump
administration removal raids by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)
agents on migrant undocumented families. The raids, which began this weekend, will have devastating long-lasting
harm on children, families and communities. The administration has ordered ICE
to target undocumented asylum-seeking immigrants—including families with
children—who have removal orders.
Removal Raids Cause
Traumatic Emotional Injury to Children
conducted by the Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP), revealed
that immigrant and asylum-seeking children are significantly impacted by governmental actions such as removal raids. For example, children who witness the arrest
of a parent, particularly in their own home, are at greater risk of developing
long-term post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms which have enduring negative
implications on their emotional growth and adjustment. Additionally,
anxiety and other symptoms associated with mass removal raids, detention or
deportation of a parent disrupt the family’s overall social, emotional, and
economic stability, even for those family members that have not been issued a
Many social service organizations and mental health
providers, including social workers, will be called upon to respond to this
latest round of senseless family
separations initiated by the Trump administration. NASW supports and stands
behind these providers who will bear the unnecessary burden of mitigating the long-term
traumatic harm to children whose families were needlessly torn apart.
administration’s planned raids on migrant undocumented families began on Sunday. The raids are expected to occur in up to 10
cities, including San Francisco, Los Angeles, Houston, Denver, Miami, New York,
Baltimore, Chicago and Atlanta. However, there is nothing in the President’s
order that prevents ICE from also conducting enforcement actions in other areas
by targeting unaccompanied youth who have aged out of federal care and
protections and who have removal orders against them. It is anticipated that
the raids will affect approximately 2,000 individuals, with cascading impacts
on their families and communities.
It is important
to note that being issued a removal order does not mean the individual or
family can be automatically arrested, detained and deported. There is a right
to appeal within 30 days, before the order becomes final. That said, the administration does not
distinguish between those who have pending appeals or are still within their
30-day appeal period.
How Can Social
There are several
ways that social workers can help mitigate the impact of these raids on
affected children, families, and individuals. For example, social workers who provide
services to or interface with immigrant communities can assist by offering
guidance to those are at risk of an ICE raid, including:
- Advising individuals and families to contact an immigration services provider about what options
are available to them if they feel they may be a target of a removal raid.
- Helping families develop a family preparedness plan.
information and resources that will help individuals and families know their rights before speaking to officers
or letting officers inside their homes.
- Helping individuals
and families understand or access resources that explain their legal options
and when to speak with an attorney.
It is also essential that
every social worker get involved
in promoting sound immigration policies. The current removal raids are but one
of many anti-immigrant actions that the Trump administration will likely undertake
leading up to the 2020 elections. NASW encourages social workers to regularly contact their lawmakers to
express their concerns about harmful and unjust immigration policies and to
provide the much-needed social work perspective in state and local-level
immigrant advocacy coalitions and related justice efforts.
information and resources on this and related immigration issues, please see
Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP)
The Immigration Hub
Immigration Task Force
National Immigration Law Center
Protecting Immigrant Families