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AAPCSW Response to the Executive Order Eliminating the DACA Program and Recent ICE Raids on Non-Criminal Undocumented Immigrants

Position Statement

Released October 23, 2017

The AAPCSW Board of Directors has approved the following position statement prepared by the AAPCSW Diversity and Social Action Committee.

The American Association for Psychoanalysis in Clinical Social Work (AAPCSW) opposes President Trump's efforts to undermine current policy and practice protecting DACA youth (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals), sometimes called “Dreamers,” who psychologically and socially identify as American. The resulting traumatizing uncertainties have significant consequences for the health and wellbeing of these young people. The AAPCSW is also concerned that The Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has lost its focus on deportation of criminals and is instead targeting peaceful and productive members of our society. Research (see below) shows that undocumented immigrants face many challenges with potential and long lasting consequences on mental health and normal child development. Poverty, limited access to health care and education, discrimination, and living in daily fear of deportation may contribute to a wide range of mental health concerns: PTSD, depression, anxiety. Data shows that migration itself may contribute to trauma and subsequent mental health concerns. Research has also shown that DACA has helped to reduce these negative effects.

The American Association for Psychoanalysis in Clinical Social Work believes that the celebration of our differences combined with sustained focus on our common and shared humanity unifies and strengthens all of us. The United States has proudly portrayed itself as a land of immigrants. However, current policy divides and splits us into natural (“citizens”) and unnatural (“immigrant”) groups. The AAPCSW shares a long history with the field of social work, with strong commitments to social justice and longstanding support for immigrants. Thus, we oppose the current policies that refuse to support DACA youth and end the destructive practices used by ICE.

As stated in our position on the Travel Ban (see the posting on this site) which responded to grave “Dignity Violations,” silence is not an option. Similarly, in the case ofimplementation of the current policies governing DACA and ICE, our civic duty and our professional ethical commitment to human dignity require us to advocate for those faced with dehumanizing policies. We call on Congress to repair our relationships with the young people who have done no wrong and remember no other home through the establishment of pathways to citizenship. And we call on the administration to choose appropriate priorities for enforcement of our laws and to treat the guests of our nation with respect and dignity.

The American Association for Psychoanalysis in Clinical Social Work is one of the largest professional organizations of clinical social workers in the United States, including researchers, educators, clinicians, and students. Through its local areas and the national organization, it works to produce and disseminate psychoanalytic knowledge to promote human capabilities and flourishing.

Download: AAPCSW Response to The Executive Order Eliminating the DACA Program and Recent ICE Raids on Non-Criminal Undocumented Immigrants.


  • Gallo, S. (2014). The effects of gendered immigration enforcement on middle childhood and schooling. American Educational Research Journal,51(3), 473-504.
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