When immigrant families get detained, the government holds not just the parents, but the children, too. Often, these children had absolutely nothing to do with the situation and may not even be old enough to fully comprehend what is happening to them.
As such, it is important to note that detaining these children can have a very serious impact on their mental health moving forward. In some cases, they are diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). They may also become more likely to commit suicide.
Now, the detainment of children got into the news quite often when kids were being held without their parents, and there was a national outcry. However, researchers who looked into the impact on these children noted that while being held on their own could be incredibly harmful, they still saw a negative mental impact when the government allowed families to stay together.
Why does this happen? It puts these kids under a lot of stress, and they may also feed off of the stress their parents are feeling. They face a lot of uncertainty. When will they get released? What food and clothing do they have, and how do they get more? Are they eventually going to be separated from their parents? These are all stressful questions children are forced to ask during a detainment period, even when they are with their parents.
When considering tactics used against immigrants, it is necessary to look at the full impact of those tactics on everyone involved, especially when they are vulnerable minors. It is also necessary for those being held to understand all of the legal rights they have.