During the last administration, the forced separation of families at the southern border of the U.S. resulted in one of the darkest chapters in our history. As an attorney deployed in the Summer of 2018 to the Southern Texas region, CEO Gabriel Moreno encountered detained parents who were ripped away from their young children, sometimes in the middle of the night and sometimes with neither having the opportunity to say goodbye, sparking a profound impact on his soul. With a lack of transparency, processes, and empathy from government authorities starting as early as 2017, he refers to it as cruel incompetence. Their anguish, reflected in hunger strikes and tearless cries (because there were no more tears to cry), was heartbreaking with no end in sight.
The trauma endured by separated families went beyond the physical boundaries of detention centers. It inflicted deep psychological wounds, resulting in lasting consequences on their mental health. Studies revealed symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, depression, and even suicidal ideation as a direct result of forced family separation. To better comprehend the human toll of misguided immigration policies, Gabriel wholeheartedly recommends Jacob Soboroff’s book, titled “Separated: Inside an American Tragedy.”
This well-researched and poignant account delves deep into the stories of families affected by the policy of family separation. Through personal narratives and heartfelt interviews, Soboroff humanizes the issue, shedding light on the unimaginable pain and suffering these families endured. “Separated” serves as a powerful call to action, urging us to confront the consequences of such policies and advocate for change that respects the dignity and rights of all individuals, regardless of their nationality or migration status.
Gabriel’s experiences with detained parents in southern Texas and the last five years of his professional life helping separated families served as a haunting reminder of the grave consequences of misguided and cruelly incompetent immigration policies. The mental and emotional toll of family separations is profound to those separated and their nonseparated family members, necessitating urgent policy reform that prioritizes compassion and empathy for the stranger that comes to us for refuge. And Soboroff’s “Separated” offers crucial insights into the human stories behind this crisis, inspiring empathy and encouraging action towards a more just and compassionate world for all those seeking refuge and a better life for not only themselves, but their families.