On Tuesday the United Nations called on the Trump administration to “immediately halt” its policy of separating children from their parents at the U.S. border with Mexico. The request came from the United Nations human rights office which has heavily criticized the administration for their actions of taking children away from their parents after they cross into the United States from Mexico.
A spokesperson for the human rights office, Ravina Shamdasani, said, “Children should never be detained for reasons related to their own parents’ migration status. Detention is never in the best interests of the child and always constitutes a child rights violation.”
At a United Nations briefing on Tuesday Shamdasani said that Trump’s practice of separating families was “an arbitrary and unlawful interference in family life” and a “serious violation of the rights of children.”
Democrats and immigration advocates have severely criticized the president’s actions, but Trump has been undeterred in his quest to implement cruel anti-immigration policies.
This latest approach is called a “zero tolerance” policy, which means harsh punishments for people caught crossing the U.S.-Mexico border illegally. Both the U.S. Justice Department (DOJ) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) have said they will separate children from their parents when catching them at the border.
Recently White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, former DHS secretary and a hardliner on immigration, had this to say about the policy:
“The children will be taken care of — put into foster care or whatever. But the big point is they elected to come illegally into the United States and this is a technique that no one hopes will be used extensively or for very long.”
What Kelly failed to acknowledge is that after the children are forcibly removed from their parents’ custody the children are often put into unsafe situations. The harm done to the children and their families cannot be measured.
President Trump obviously believes that the more cruel his immigration policies the more political support he receives from his “base” who are known to be strongly anti-immigrant.
Even though Trump may be gaining politically with his harsh immigration approach, the United States is not gaining, but instead is losing its humanity. We hope that the comments from the United Nations will be heeded by the Trump administration, although based on past experiences, this is not to be expected.
I am a lifelong Democrat with a passion for social justice and progressive issues. I have degrees in writing, economics and law from the University of Iowa.