Luis H. Zayas: The psychological impact of child separation at the US-Mexico border
Luis H. Zayas remains a proud active mental health practitioner through his evaluations of immigrant children and families facing deportation, and of refugee and asylum-seeking mothers and children in detention centers. Full bio
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a clinical social worker
for me to go into the helping professions.
to do good for others.
in some of the toughest circumstances:
I've worked with hope and with optimism.
have been put to the test.
in the way the United States government
to our southern border,
from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras,
to safety and security.
the worst violence in the world.
because the police are complicit,
the first children in detention centers.
suffering I'd ever known,
I believed in my country,
has handled the immigrants
that children in immigration detention
with respect to immigration.
to handle all those people
whether you're a Republican or a Democrat,
about those topics, too.
be in the business of hurting children.
just looking for asylum.
some of the worst violence in the world
over these past five years.
when I met him in a detention center
and his brother,
that you get to love instantly.
was of the Revos Locos.
in the town that he was in.
about the evils of drinking and smoking.
are shooting at birds and at people.
was killed by those Revos Locos
to his uncle's farmhouse,
coming out the back of his head.
beat little Danny badly, severely,
or they will kill us."
a single-leg amputee with a crutch,
said goodbye to his father,
until he lost sight of his father.
heard from his father.
was killed by the Revos Locos,
in the same detention center,
he spent in isolation with his mother
had led a hunger strike
under the pressure of the guards,
very abusive towards her and Fernando.
in the small office,
They're listening to you."
groping under all the chairs.
for hidden microphones and cameras.
as he watched his mother spiral
and I saw utter terror.
of him if she couldn't?
They only had each other.
what that kind of trauma,
with you for a moment,
the professor that I am.
response system is affected.
that are associated with cognition,
the child's immune system is suppressed,
asthma, cardiovascular disease,
and likely shorten their lives.
to the breakdown of the body.
and disturbing nightmares,
after years of continence.
who was buckling under the pressure
that her mother breastfeed her.
children's health and development.
asylum processing centers,
can live together.
old army barracks,
can live as family units
to their next medical provider.
mental health evaluations
for those who need it.
would be connecting families
to need, wherever they're headed.
and testing children
in these processing centers.
all over the world are holding families
are getting it right
describing refugee camps
health and development.
are housed together.
so they can earn some money,
go to the local stores and shop.
to cook healthy meals for the children,
every day and are taught.
they go home and they ride bikes,
and explore the world --
We have the resources to get it right.
and the insistence of Americans
Danny or Fernando.
are healthy and happy.
of the many children I met
who have been in detention.
and my optimism in the work I do.
on our approach to immigration,
with dignity and respect.
who remain in the United States,
engaged members of our society.
countries whether voluntarily or not
the merchants, the leaders
all of those children and parents
about the goodness of our country
to disagree on immigration,
at this moment in our history,
lifelong trauma on children,
ABOUT THE SPEAKERLuis H. Zayas - Social worker, psychologist, researcher
Luis H. Zayas remains a proud active mental health practitioner through his evaluations of immigrant children and families facing deportation, and of refugee and asylum-seeking mothers and children in detention centers.
Why you should listen
Luis H. Zayas lends his expertise to legal advocates protecting the rights of asylees, refugees and immigrants in courts. A native of Coamo, Puerto Rico, Zayas believes deeply that social justice warriors cannot serve on all the battlefronts where human rights are trampled, and inhumane treatment occurs. Instead, we must use our natural talents, passions, skills and knowledge to fight in those areas that call out to us.
Luis H. Zayas | Speaker | TED.com