Dear SAHM, 
Over the last week, I have watched as the crisis at the border has escalated and the conditions for migrant children and adolescents have declined. ICE raids are also actively being conducted in my local community far away from the border, indicating the widespread impact of current immigration policies on youth and families. 
We know as health professionals serving children and adolescents that the experiences of detained and unaccompanied youth have the potential to create adversity that will reverberate well into adolescence and young adulthood. 
Earlier this week after watching a government lawyer defend the legality of failing to provide beds, soap, and toothbrushes to these children and adolescents, I thought perhaps we might mobilize and partner with others to send basic needs as a way to show love to these children, as we would a guest in our home. Unfortunately, these centers do not accept donations from citizen or professional groups. 
Many of you have reached out via email and social media to learn what you can do. At this point, there are a few ways that you can make an impact. 
1. Contact your local representatives. On 6/19/19, we were among the organizations who support the Humanitarian Standards Act. An emergency funding bill has passed in the House and is moving to the Senate for consideration. If passed, increase aid would be available.
2. Use your platform to draw attention to the issue in local and national media. 
3. Donate to organizations who are able to provide legal aid to children and families who often appear in hearings alone. Data indicate that having a lawyer has a direct impact on the outcomes at immigration hearings. 
Most importantly, let's keep talking. SAHM has committees who have also been actively involved in advocacy regarding this issue. Please reach out to them if you want to become more actively involved in their work. 
Maria Trent, MD, MPH, FSAHM
President, Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine

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