Disappearing refugees inside the United States


  • Gerald Gray Institute for Redress & Recovery, Santa Clara University School of Law, Santa Clara, California




family separation, torture, disappearance, children


I have been working as a psychotherapist and social worker with refugee survivors of torture since 1990. I am now involved at the Texas-Mexico border, drawn there by the torture of refugee families and their children who are disappeared under the U.S. Administration’s phrase, “family separation.” In the El Paso Sector, I collaborate with several clinical, legal, and investigative journalism organizations. We’ve read of the thousands of children and parents disappeared from one another at the border under that official phrase “family separation.”


Ainsley, J. (2018, June 19). Former ICE director: some migrant family separations are permanent. NBC News. Retrieved from https://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/immigration-border-crisis/former-ice-director-some-migrant-family-separations-are-permanent-n884391

Office of the Inspector General. (2019 Jan). Separated children in Office of Refugee Resettlement care. HHS OIG Issue Brief, OEI-BL-00511-18. Retrieved from https://oig.hhs.gov/oei/reports/oei-BL-18-00511.pdf

O’Toole, M. (2019, Apr 12). Family separations a year later: the fallout — and the separations — continue. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved from https://www.latimes.com/politics/la-na-pol-family-separation-trump-year-later-20190412-story.html

Sands, G. (2019, Mar 27). Almost 40,000 children will be taken into federal custody this month, US border official says. CNN. Retrieved from https://www.cnn.com/2019/03/27/politics/immigration-border-40000-children

Shear, M., & Benner, K. (2019, Apr 16). In new effort to deter migrants, Barr withholds bail to asylum seekers. New York Times. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2019/04/16/us/politics/barr-asylum-bail.html

Shoichet, C., & Alvarez, P. (2019, Apr 6). It may take 2 years to identify thousands of separated families, government says. CNN. Retrieved from https://edition.cnn.com/2019/04/06/politics/family-separations-plan

UN Commission on Human Rights. (1986, Feb 19) Report of the Special Rapporteur on torture, cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, para. 119. E/CN.4/1986/15. Retrieved from https://undocs.org/E/CN.4/1986/15

UN General Assembly, 61st session. (2006, Dec 20). International convention for the protection of all persons from enforced disappearance: resolution. A/RES/61/177. New York: UN. Retrieved from https://undocs.org/A/RES/61/177

Van Schaack, B. (2018, Oct 18). The torture of forcibly separating children from their parents. Just Security. Retrieved from https://www.justsecurity.org/61138/torture-forcibly-separating-children-parents




How to Cite

Gray, G. (2019). Disappearing refugees inside the United States: Array. Torture Journal, 29(1), 144–146. https://doi.org/10.7146/torture.v29i1.113206