Marriage and Family Department’s Statement on Family Separation

President Trump signed an executive order to end family separation at the U.S. borders, but family reunifications are still pending. The faculty and staff in Fuller’s Department of Marriage and Family join organizations such as the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT’s statement), the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists (CAMFT’s statement), the National Council on Family Relations (NCFR’s statement), and private citizens throughout the U.S. in condemning the Trump Administration’s zero-tolerance policy that resulted in over 2,300 children being separated from their parents at the U.S. border.  Regardless of the varied positions individuals take on immigration, there is consensus that separating children from their parents and creating adverse experiences, especially for those children, had no legal mandate, was inexcusable, and must not be accepted as an appropriate response to our country’s immigration crisis.

In her research, Marriage and Family faculty member Dr. Lisseth Rojas-Flores found that forced parent-child separation due to parental detainment and/or deportation results in significant PTSD symptoms for Latino citizen children (Rojas-Flores, Clements, Hwang Koo, & London, 2016), and we believe this has implications for the children who are being separated from their parents at the border.Furthermore, we know that the trauma of these separations will have long-term impact well after reunification has occurred. Thus, in spite of Trump’s executive order to end family separations, we want to be clear that such actions and any actions moving forward must prioritize keeping families together, and that the psychological and relational impact of separation must be addressed at the individual, communal, and societal levels.

Any such policy contradicts our foundational commitment as Christian faculty members and staff in the Marriage and Family Department: We believe in peacemaking, and are devoted to equipping our students to bring about reconciliation and restoration among the families they serve. We recognize the multidimensional impact upon individuals, families, communities, and our larger society when the most vulnerable in our midst are dehumanized and placed in harm’s way.  We are compelled by our conviction as Christians to love one another as Christ loves us, and to act justly and love mercy as we walk humbly with our God.

Please pray and please act.
MFT Department Faculty and Staff

For additional responses to family separation, read this statement from President Labberton and Dr. Rojas-Flores