Regardless of where they stand on immigration, parents on both sides of the Republican/Democrat aisle agree the atrocities being committed at the U.S.-Mexico border are horrendous and unacceptable — especially the gassing of unarmed children. And now, thankfully, the American Academy of Pediatrics officially agrees. But will their declaration be enough to enact change?
The pediatric organization issued a statement on Monday taking a strong stance against the use of tear gas and condemning those who allow and/or approve it.
“The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that all immigrant children and families seeking safe haven are treated with dignity and respect to protect their health and well-being,” the statement read. “Children who are displaced and fleeing violence should be given special protection and humanitarian assistance and allowed to petition for asylum.”
What’s more, “the use of tear gas on children — including infants and toddlers in diapers — goes against evidence-based recommendations, and threatens their short and long-term health.”
Mexican officials have asked the US to investigate incidents in the Tijuana-San Diego border zone that led to US Border Patrol agents firing tear gas at migrants attempting to cross the border https://t.co/TwQ4q8rfxA pic.twitter.com/FzL64rYyBS
Of course, the short-term effects of tear gas on adults are also well-known. The agent irritates the mucous membranes, including ones mouth, nose, lungs and eyes. But according to the AAP statement, children “are uniquely vulnerable to physiological effects” due to their size and breathing rates.
As such, the AAP has implored our government to avoid using such chemicals — and to protect all children.
“Immigrant children are still children, and they deserve our compassion and assistance,” the AAP said. “Our government must take extra precautions when it comes to children. We must make every effort not to re-traumatize them.”
And we hope the U.S. government listens. Because whatever political war is being fought, it is no place for — or fault of — children.