Pediatricians worry about effect on kids from Trump’s immigration orders

A pediatrician and his patient
Pediatricians worry about the impact on children from Trump's immigration orders. (Getty Images/shironosov)

A group that represents thousands of pediatricians has taken a strong stand against President Donald Trump’s immigration orders, saying they will harm immigrant children across the country.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) wasted no time speaking out after Trump signed a number of immigration-focused executive orders this week.

“Immigrant families are our neighbors, they are part of every community, and they are our patients. The executive orders are harmful to immigrant children and families throughout our country,” said AAP President Fernando Stein in an announcement reacting to the news.

Many children who will be most affected by the president’s orders came to the U.S. seeking safe haven and have already been the victims of violence and been exposed to trauma, Stein said in the statement.

One order signed by Trump would stop federal funding to so-called sanctuary cities or communities that shield undocumented immigrants from deportation unless the money is related to law enforcement. The action also directs the hiring of 5,000 new border patrol agents and would triple the number of immigration and customs enforcement agents, according to NBC News

A second order redirects Homeland Security money to build a wall on the border with Mexico along with more detention facilities.

Immigrant children already live in fear their parents will be taken into custody or deported, Stein said. The effect can be anxiety and stress in children. Julie Linton, M.D., a North Carolina pediatrician, told NBC News she had a patient who came to her office complaining of headaches and expressed fear that his parents would be taken away.

Physicians treating children who suffer from traumatic experiences find they have a harder time battling chronic diseases such as asthma, chronic abdominal pain, ADHD and headaches.