KeepHealthCare.ORG – Mental health at risk when separating kids from parents, expert says
Jocelyn and her teenage son, James, are reunited after nine months separated by immigration authorities.
A mother and son separated at the border are finally together again. The family was separated shortly after arriving to the county seeking asylum under a new policy by the Trump Administration.
“Right now, I’m very happy. Always thankful to God first,” Jocelyn said.
Jocelyn’s son James was finally returned to his mother’s side earlier this week.
We’re only using their first names at the request of their immigration attorney.
“I think he’s still adapting to everything on the outside,” Jocelyn said.
According to experts, James will have a lot of adjusting to do.
“Attachment disorders are a difficult disorder to work with and cope with,” Celeste Nevarez said.
Nevarez is a therapist with Emergence Health Network.
She said when a child is separated from a parent, it can have lasting effects on the minor.
“Being detached from a caregiver can have negative impacts by way of inducing anxiety, stress, lack of emotional regulation,” Nevarez said.
Jocelyn and James arrived to the U.S.-Mexico border in August of 2017. They were seeking asylum after fleeing an abusive relationship in Brazil.
That’s when they got caught in the pilot phase of the Trump administration’s zero tolerance policy, ultimately separating the family.
“I was very sad. It was very difficult for us because we never knew if we were going to win or lose. It’s very difficult. It’s painful for both him and I,” Jocelyn said.
Jocelyn posted bail in April but it took two months for officials to bring James back from a center in Chicago.
“We are going to keep fighting. We’ll see how it turns out. I hope everything works out with our asylum case to stay in this country,” Jocelyn said.
Jocelyn is a plaintiff named in a lawsuit against the Trump Administration for its practice of separating undocumented immigrant children from their parents. The lawsuit was presented by the American Civil Liberties Union.
Linda Rivas, the family’s immigration attorney, says she will continue to pursue Jocelyn’s and James’ asylum case.