SNAP Calls for the Protection of Migrant Children

The abuse of children is not a political topic. People from every party or political leaning can agree that children should be safe, protected, and allowed to live their lives free of abuse and the negative, lifelong effects that can come with it. This is an American value, not a Democratic or Republican one.

Yet the situation that many children now find themselves in at our southern border is not in keeping with our American values. Many media articles have exposed how migrant children have suffered degradation, deprivation, and abuse while living in camps set up by our government at the U.S. border. The conditions these children live in, including being separated from their parents, removes needed protections and creates situations where children can be abused.

When separated from their parents, these children are very vulnerable. The separation of children is a punitive action that only harms the child and removes the fundamental support and compassionate care that children need in order to thrive. And with the absence of parental care and the lack of qualified childcare, these children are vulnerable to sexual abuse.

We take no position on the politics of the day or the issue of immigration specifically. But we must stand up against any situation that could force children to experience sexual abuse and the lifelong pain that comes with it. And so we call for an end to the imprisonment of migrant children and the separation of these children from their parents. Those predators who sexually abuse children must be prosecuted and held accountable, regardless of whether they are American citizens, immigrants, or anything in between. We also call for humane living conditions, parental care, and supervised childcare until children can be reunited with their families. 

The science is clear: trauma has a lifelong impact on a child’s developing brain. We must do what we can to mitigate this trauma while these children are within our borders, no matter how they got here. We must take these huddled masses of children and allow them to breathe free. It is the American way.

CONTACT: Tim Lennon, SNAP President (415-313-5820, tlennon@snapnetwork.org), Zach Hiner, Executive Director (517-974-9009, zhiner@snapnetwork.org)

(SNAP, the Survivors Network, has been providing support for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings for 30 years. We have more than 25,000 survivors and supporters in our network. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)


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  • Melody Kay Young
    commented 2019-07-13 10:59:45 -0500
    Thank you for speaking to this. The truly ugly Christianity shown in online comments by so many professed Christians stateside makes it very clear to me why we have an abuse issue in American religious homes and churches. It is not a political issue to welcome a child kindly and provide a safe environment for them. The cruel attitudes and the rhetoric we keep seeing that would deny basic human dignity, is immoral and abusive. Thank you for pointing out it is not political for us to care for children and their safety.
  • Kathy Johnson
    commented 2019-07-13 10:11:33 -0500
    The fact that many children now find themselves at our southern border was not America’s doing, let’s not hold Americans solely on the hook for thier lack of adequate adult supervision. Long before these innocent children had any contact with any American authorities, adults sent them on a journey without any concern whether or not they would be breathe at all, let alone breathe freely, the American way. Its not a Republican or a Democratic value, its and American Value that we are a nation of laws, not men.
  • Luann Portler
    commented 2019-07-13 05:39:44 -0500
    Thank you for addressing this issue. I lost my faith in my church when the PA grand jury report came out; lost faith in America when we started treating innocent immigrant children like this.

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