To the horror of many, the United States border patrol has been separating children from their parents at the border. In many cases, children are being sent to shelters and their parents are being sent to adult detention centers. It is unbelievable that the U.S. government condones such an abusive practice towards immigrant children and their families.
Now, the United Nations is jumping on board to urge the U.S. to immediately stop this terrible practice. According to the Associated Press:
‘The United Nations human rights office called on the Trump administration Tuesday to “immediately halt” its accelerating policy of separating children from their parents after they cross the U.S. border with Mexico, insisting there is “nothing normal about detaining children.”’
Spokeswoman for the U.N. high commissioner for human rights, Ravina Shamdasani scolded the United States for removing hundreds of children from parents who were jailed for entering the country illegally. She said that border patrol is apparently way more important to the U.S. than child care and protection.
During a briefing in Geneva, Shamdasani said:
‘The use of immigration detention and family separation as a deterrent runs counter to human rights standards and principles. The child’s best interest should always come first.’
U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley defended U.S. actions, saying:
‘Once again, the United Nations shows its hypocrisy by calling out the United States while it ignores the reprehensible human rights records of several members of its own Human Rights Council.
‘While the high commissioner’s office ignorantly attacks the United States with words, the United States leads the world with its actions, like providing more humanitarian assistance to global conflicts than any other nation.
‘We will remain a generous country, but we are also a sovereign country, with laws that decide how best to control our borders and protect our people. Neither the United Nations nor anyone else will dictate how the United States upholds its borders.’
The Trump administration’s new “zero tolerance” policy has led to the rapid separation of children and their parents at the border. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the policy in April, which gives the authorities the right to prosecute all instances of illegal border crossings.
According to the AP:
‘While the policy doesn’t make mention of separating families, U.S. protocol prohibits detaining children with their parents because the children are not charged with a crime and the parents are.
‘The U.N. rights office doesn’t want families separated and also doesn’t want anyone — children or adults — jailed for illegal migration, saying it should not be seen as a crime, but an administrative offense.’
‘The U.S. should immediately halt this practice of separating families and stop criminalizing what should be at most an administrative offense: That of irregular entry and stay in the U.S.
‘There is nothing normal about detaining children.’
Currently, hundreds of migrant kids are stuck at border stations because the government is running out of places to shelter them. According to NBC News:
‘As of Sunday, nearly 300 of the 550 children currently in custody at U.S. border stations had spent more than 72 hours there, the time limit for immigrants of any age to be held in the government’s temporary facilities. Almost half of those 300 children are younger than 12, according to the document, meaning they are classified by the Department of Homeland Security as “tender age children.”‘
The United Nations is correct on the issue. What the United States is doing is completely despicable and it must stop.
Some thoughts from Twitter:
Featured image by Alex Edelman/Pool via Bloomberg