‘That’s Not Who We Are,’ Says Rep. Fred Upton on Child Separation

Stephen Henderson also speaks with the president of Michigan chapter of American Academy of Pediatrics about separated children arriving in Michigan.

Jake Neher/WDET

On Wednesday, President Trump ended — in part — a humanitarian crisis of his own making. Under immense political pressure from all sides, he signed an executive order that put an end to the practice of forcibly separating asylum-seeking parents and children as they cross the Mexican border into the United States.

Now, they will still carry through with prosecutions but now say they will keep families together. They have no plan to immediately reunite the 2,300 children sitting in cages without their parents in detention centers.

Detroit Today host Stephen Henderson speaks with U.S. Rep. Fred Upton (R-St. Joseph) about the Trump administration’s separation policy.

“That’s not who we are,” says Upton. “Nor should it ever be who we are.”

Upton also talks about the moral and economic imperative to pass a comprehensive immigration overhaul.

Also on Wednesday, the newspapers here in Detroit reported the state of Michigan had begun taking in babies that have been separated from their parents at the border and placing the infants with foster parents.

The American Academy of Pediatrics has come out firmly against the practice of separating children from the asylum seeking parents.

Henderson speaks with Dr. Teresa Holtrop, president of Michigan chapter of American Academy of Pediatrics. She says the practice of family separation amounts to government-sanctioned child abuse.

“Is that really the intent of the government? I’m sure it is not,” says Holtrop. “But there is strong, strong research out there that the effects of the stress (on children) are not just transient, it’s a toxic stress…If we believe we’re a country that has moral obligations, we really need to step forward and say this is not right.”

“We’re not just punishing the children, we’re harming the children,” she continues, saying there needs to be re-unification with parents “as soon as possible.”

Click on the audio player above to hear the full conversation.


  • Detroit Today
    Dynamic and diverse voices. News, politics, community and the issues that define our region. Hosted by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Stephen Henderson, Detroit Today brings you fresh and perceptive views weekdays at 9 am and 7 pm.