National Association of Social Workers Called to Condemn Complicity in Immigration Crisis

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Migrant children from Central America are being separated from their parents and detained in conditions that the American Academy of Pediatrics has called "traumatic" and "child abuse." 

The policy of separating migrant children from their parents has no basis in law and has been condemned as violation of both human rights and international law by the United Nations High Commissioner on Human Rights.

SOCIAL WORKERS are active participants in this process: CPS workers that assist in separations, foster agencies that receive and house these children, shelter staff who oversee mass detention of children in literal cages. Any individual who participates in activities that support, enable, or facilitate the separation of children from their parents, so that they can be placed in situations that multiple experts have stated will cause lasting, long-term, and severe harm, are violating the professional ethics they are obligated to uphold as social workers, namely:


1) Social workers challenge social injustice.

- The current practices of ICE, Border Patrol, and the DOJ are illegal, immoral and unethical. Any Social Worker whose work supports these current policies are complicit in the perpetuation of massive injustice. 

2) Social workers respect the inherent dignity and worth of the person.

-  Asylum seekers have the right to be treated with respect and dignity. No Social Worker can deny comfort and family support to a crying child and say that they are fulfilling their mission as a member of our profession. 

3) Social workers recognize the central importance of human relationships.

- Children belong with families. Children escaping grave danger most especially deserve to have their few remaining family ties preserved. Any Social Worker who separates families at the border is violating this ethical standard. 

4) Social workers behave in a trustworthy manner.

- There have been widespread reports of families being lied to, told their children are being taken for a bath, or even simply snatched from their arms while they sleep. Social Workers MUST act in a way that lets our clients and community trust us, and anyone supporting such behavior (regardless of who is the actor) is inherently complicit in deceitful and unethical practice. 

WE CALL ON THE NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF SOCIAL WORKERS to immediately condemn the actions of ICE (Immigration & Customs Enforcement), Border Patrol, and the Department of Justice and to demand that any licensed social worker operating in support of these policies be held accountable by their relevant state licensing boards for the clear, severe, and pervasive ethical violations that such work entails. 

NASW is *the* voice of professional Social Workers. NASW creates the Code of Ethics by which our entire profession is judged. NASW MUST ACT to hold complict social workers accountable for their actions. 

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