APA Statement on President Trump's Decision to End DACA

Calls for Congress to reinstate protections for young immigrants

WASHINGTON — The American Psychological Association expressed its concern in response to the Trump administration’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, and urged Congress to pass legislation reinstating protections formerly afforded to young immigrants by the program.

“Research shows that the displacement of children from their home countries at an early age can have long-lasting, negative consequences for their cognitive, emotional, social and physical development,” said APA President Antonio E. Puente, PhD. “The President’s decision to end the DACA program compounds the risk to their health and well-being by separating them from their families once again. Research affirms that forced parent-child separation is a traumatic event that can adversely affect the mental health of children and their families. As psychologists, we are committed to policies that keep families together.” 

Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ announcement today closes the program to new applications and places about 800,000 young adults currently living and working in this country under DACA at risk for deportation.  

“APA is now seeking congressional action and subsequent support from the Trump administration to safeguard the well-being of DACA recipients and protect them from deportation,” said Puente.

APA has a long history of supporting immigrants.  In 1998 APA issued a Resolution on Immigrant Children, Youth and Families, which recognized that immigrants to the United States experience unique stresses, prejudice and poverty and can be considered at-risk subpopulations for health, emotional and behavioral problems.  

The American Psychological Association, in Washington, D.C., is the largest scientific and professional organization representing psychology in the United States. APA's membership includes nearly 115,700 researchers, educators, clinicians, consultants and students. Through its divisions in 54 subfields of psychology and affiliations with 60 state, territorial and Canadian provincial associations, APA works to advance the creation, communication and application of psychological knowledge to benefit society and improve people's lives.