The media airwaves have filled my conscious receptors with disturbing news from our southern border with Mexico. The multiplicity of newsworthy items regarding that situation, and the complexity of untangling such an entangling web, has lead me to one piece of the thread that hits home to me as someone who worked with traumatized students. The cages that house those who made the conscious effort to escape the social dissolution of their communities and country, only exacerbates the trauma of their journey for freedom.

For the children who have been an integral part of that experience, and to have had that experience be an integral part of their young lives, it is truly a traumatizing experience.

An article I was reading regarding the psychological, social and educational implications of such an experience stated that “Trauma in childhood is a grave psychosocial, medical, and public policy problem that has serious consequences for its victims and for society.” The article went on to state that “Childhood traumas, particularly those that are interpersonal, intentional, and chronic are associated with greater rates of PTSD, PTSS, depression and anxiety, antisocial behaviors and greater risk for alcohol and substance use disorders.”

Looking around the world it would not be difficult to see far too many examples of situations creating childhood trauma. But looking more closely at home, we only have to look at the situation at our southern borders and the policies that have been put in place by the current administration to see the trauma we are creating in the children who seek refuge in our country but only find themselves confined to in-humanitarian prison conditions.

As the article stated, “Trauma in childhood … has serious consequences for its victims and society.” The consequences for our gestapo-like tactics at our southern border unjustly creates a pathway for those children traumatized by our actions that will possibly be expressed through psychosocial problems, antisocial behaviors and the potential of substance abuse.

An iceberg floating in an ocean of waves is quite obvious. What is not so obvious is that which lies, in much greater volume, below the surface. The inhumane situation at our southern border is quite obvious. The underlying trauma and psychological issues for the children experiencing such a situation need to be recognized for the greater volume of concern it represents.

William Gay


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