United States lawmakers, Melania Trump call for end to migrant family separations

18 Juin, 2018, 11:55 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • ABC

A former first lady, Laura Bush, joined the debate, calling the separation policy "cruel" and "immoral" and said "it breaks my heart". "This, I think, is a flawless example, of why our borders need to be secured", Boyd said.

Schiff said the practice was "deeply unethical" and that Republicans' refusal to criticize Trump represented a "sad degeneration" of the GOP, which he said had become "the party of lies".

In a recent six-week period there were almost 2,000 family separations.

In the first two weeks of the "zero-tolerance" approach, 658 minors - including many babies and toddlers - were separated from the adults that travelled with them, according to United States border officials.

In an effort to rebut criticism of the administration, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen on Sunday repeated in a tweet the department's view: "We do not have a policy of separating families at the border".

United States (US) officials have confirmed that in the last six weeks almost 2,000 migrant children were separated from their families at the US-Mexico border. Sessions openly admitted when announcing the policy that children would be ripped away from their parents.

Almost 2,000 migrant children - 1,995 - were separated from 1,940 adults between April 19 and May 31, after being caught illegally crossing the border, a Department of Homeland Security official told reporters during a conference call Friday.

"That's traumatising to the children who are innocent victims, and it is contrary to our values in this country". But neither bill has much hope of securing enough support in the Republican-controlled Congress, let alone surviving Trump's veto pen.

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A group of House Democrats converged on an immigration detention facility in New Jersey on Sunday, days before a planned vote by House Republicans next week. "That contradicts everything we know that the kids need to build their health". Because of the policy, more adults have been jailed and more children have been shipped elsewhere.

Merkley said he had "spoken directly" with Attorney General Jeff Sessions about the policy and wanted to see if President Donald Trump would meet with them. "The age of the child matters". "I certainly don't want anybody to use these kids as leverage", she said.

Jackson-Lee accused Trump of lying by claiming he was simply following to the letter a previously existing law. He said that neither him nor the president "like to see children taken away from their parents".

Representative Ben Ray Lujon said Mr Trump "could pick up the phone and stop it today".

O'Rourke denounced the "inhumane separation of children from their parents" and the conditions at the tent camp, and complained that migrants who present themselves at ports of entry, seeking legal asylum, are being denied due process. "It's a disgrace, it's shameful and it's un-American", he added. A bill authored by Senator Dianne Feinstein has attracted near universal support among the caucus, with several red-state Democrats committing to it on Sunday; only West Virginia's Joe Manchin remains on the fence.

"These children should not be a negotiating tool".

The petition says: "These children are thrust into detention centres often without an advocate or [a lawyer] and possibly even without the presence of any adult who can speak their language".

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