The United Nation’s top human rights official has called on the United States Administration of President Donald Trump to end the policy of forcibly removing children from their migrant parents who cross the southern border irregularly via Mexico.
Officials have confirmed that close to 2 000 children have been separated from adults between mid-April and the end of May as part of a new zero tolerance policy instituted by the Justice Department in the hope it would act as a deterrent to illegal immigration.
But outrage at the inhumanity of the move has forced voices on both sides of the political spectrum to speak out against the policy.
The Trump administration implemented a zero tolerance policy at the border earlier this year, arresting and prosecuting anyone crossing from Mexico, with reports that even those seeking asylum are being arrested and criminally prosecuted.
If adults are accompanied by children, the children are removed and sent to refugee centres, where in some instances, they are held in warehouse type facilities locked away in metal cages.
High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein says: “I am deeply concerned by recently adopted policies which punish children for their parents’ actions. In the past six weeks, nearly two thousand children have been forcibly separated from their parents. The American Association of Paediatrics has called this cruel practice ‘government-sanctioned child abuse’ which may cause ‘irreparable harm,’ with ‘lifelong consequences’.”
A group of democratic lawmakers visited a detention centre in New Jersey to meet with men seeking asylum but who’ve been separated from their families.
Weighing in for the first time on a political hot potato, First Lady Melania Trump’s spokesperson issued a statement saying she hates seeing children separated from their families, and that the USA should be a country that governs with a heart.
Former Republican first lady Laura Bush also weighed in through an op-ed in the Washington Post in which she called the policy cruel and immoral.
The President meanwhile, continues to blame Democrats.