Within hours of the news that the Trump administration decided to end the DACA (Deferred Action for Child Arrivals) program, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) came out with a statement opposing the action.
The 66,000 pediatricians who are part of the AAP are a politically, ethnically and geographically diverse group of people. But we all have one thing in common: we care about the health and well being of children and young adults.
Ending DACA is really bad for the health and well being of 800,000 children and young adults.
As pediatricians, this makes no sense to us. These children and young adults are here by no fault of their own; their parents brought them. The median age of their arrival was 6 years old, which means that the U.S. is the only home they’ve really known. They are studying, working, fighting for our country and otherwise helping our society and our economy. They have done nothing wrong.
They don’t deserve to have their lives upended. They don’t deserve to lose everything they have worked for—and the people they love. They don’t deserve to have their health and safety endangered. They don’t deserve to be deported to a country they don’t know anymore.
This action has broader implications, because it calls into question our values and priorities as a country. Who are we if we do something so clearly destructive to an innocent group of children and young adults—especially for reasons that are ultimately political? We are headed in a very bad direction, a slippery slope into a dark place.
President Trump left it up to Congress, and Congress needs to act. There needs to be a path to safety and citizenship for these youth. I am sure we can find that path, if we put our minds and hearts to it.
Because it’s not just about saving these youth. It’s about saving the soul of our country.