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Message regarding Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)

Tuesday, September 19, 2017
Richard Chung and Ann Reed

In the wake of the ongoing controversy regarding the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) immigration policy, Duke Children’s and the Duke Department of Pediatrics reaffirm an unwavering commitment to diversity and inclusion and opposition to any forces that would seek to discriminate against, conjure fear among, and otherwise reject children and families in our community.

We have seen the faces and heard the voices of youth who are already fading under the weight of the uncertainty they face. Fear among immigrant communities has wide-ranging health implications and young people are experiencing a type of toxic stress derived from exclusion and unjust blame that can cause significant psychological injury.

As pediatricians, we care for children so that they can emerge into the full bloom of their intrinsic potential. To not only reject and deny that potential but to also saddle young people with the incalculable burden of facing ejection from the only country and home they have ever known is unfair and unjust.

We often ask children and teens what their dreams are. This is the currency we work with as pediatricians and child advocates. Their dreams are the scaffolding that give form and direction to the care that our teams provide them. To replace their dreams with fear and uncertainty is unthinkable.

Caring for the vulnerable and in particular those who have already suffered pain and trauma is central to our mandate. We must move toward them, not away. We must invite them in, not reject them. We must operate out of love and trust, not hatred and fear. These are not political actions. They are simply a part of our humanity and essential to our professional privilege.

To the children, youth, young adults, and families affected by the possibility of DACA ending, we say that you are not alone. We stand with you. Whatever your background and circumstance, we count it our deepest privilege and honor to care for and support you. Further, we urge everyone to prioritize and protect the safety and welfare of all children and youth regardless of birthplace or circumstance.

Ann M. Reed, MD
William Cleland Professor of Pediatrics
Chair, Department of Pediatrics
Physician-in-Chief, Duke Children’s

Richard Chung, MD
Associate Professor of Pediatrics
Associate Professor in Medicine
Director, Adolescent Medicine


AAU Leaders Call on Congress for Permanent DACA Solution
Duke Today, 10.24.2017