Current members of the Trump administration claim that the chaotic nature of the reunification process actually benefits the children. Homeland Security secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, and HHS secretary Alex Azar claim that they are housing the children for their own well-being. “Throughout the reunification process our goal has been the well-being of the children and returning them to a safe environment,” Nielsen, Sessions, and Azar said in a statement to Reuters.
The Department of Health and Human Services declined to comment on the current lawsuit or the alleged mental health effects. Spokeswoman Evelyn Stauffer stated that the agency does not comment on active or pending lawsuits.
Regardless of the outcome of the lawsuit, the consensus among the medical community, as well as many advocacy groups, is that the trauma created by Trump’s policy will have long-term effects for the children who were forcibly removed from their families.