American Psychiatric Nurses Association Calls for End to Immigration Policy that Separates Families

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Psychiatric-mental health nursing organization urges national leaders to halt immigration policy.

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As psychiatric-mental health nurses who care for those with mental illness and substance use disorders, we feel it imperative that we provide information reflecting the seriousness of this issue.

The American Psychiatric Nurses Association (APNA) calls for an immediate stoppage of the United States of America’s practice of separating children from their parents who enter the US without documentation. This is an official Department of Homeland Security policy to discourage immigration, even if the family is seeking asylum. This is an unethical policy and should be rescinded. It is the responsibility of America’s leadership to fix this now.

APNA holds empowerment, inclusivity, integrity, collegiality, innovation, transparency and stewardship as its core principles. To stand by and be silent in the face of removing children from parents is a violation of these principles and makes us complicit in the traumatic treatment of human beings. We will not abandon our principles and ethics as nurses and citizens by remaining silent.

We call on elected and appointed leaders to stop playing politics and using children as pawns to gain leverage in a political debate. This practice must be stopped. We call on our leaders to do what leaders are there to do: Lead with wisdom and compassion. We call on them to fix this egregious practice that is a blemish on what all Americans stand for.

As psychiatric-mental health nurses who care for those with mental illness and substance use disorders, we feel it imperative that we provide information reflecting the seriousness of this issue. It is very alarming that our government's policy is producing traumatic effects. Trauma has profound consequences. It causes many persons to develop depression and anxiety. Trauma, if not treated, can ruin lives. Our first priority as nurses in any decision or practice must be to protect, promote, and optimize health of individuals, families and communities.

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The American Psychiatric Nurses Association is a national professional membership organization committed to the specialty practice of psychiatric-mental health nursing and wellness promotion, prevention of mental health problems and the care and treatment of persons with psychiatric disorders. APNA’s membership is inclusive of all psychiatric-mental health registered nurses including associate degree, baccalaureate, advanced practice (comprised of clinical nurse specialists and psychiatric nurse practitioners), and nurse scientists and academicians (PhD). APNA serves as a resource for psychiatric mental health nurses to engage in networking, education, and the dissemination of research.

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Meaghan Trimyer
@AmerPsychNurses
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American Psychiatric Nurses Association
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