Almost 2,000 children separated from adults at USA border

16 Juin, 2018, 08:55 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • Almost 2,000 children separated from adults at USA border

The government said on Friday that 1,995 children were separated from 1,940 adults at the U.S. -Mexico border between April 19 and May 31, as the Trump administration implements stricter border enforcement policies.

The Department of Homeland Security did not immediately respond to a request to provide a breakdown of the age of children separated from their parents and held in custody, but the official said they do not separate babies from adults.

On Thursday, US Attorney General Jeff Sessions cited a biblical verse to support the "zero tolerance" approach, and critics were quick to point out the same passage was once used to justify slavery.

Because the government is charging the parents in the criminal justice system, children are separated from them, with no clear procedure for their reunification aside from hotlines the parents can call to try to track their children down.

Since then, stories of weeping children torn from the arms of their frightened parents have flooded the media and the policy has been widely criticized by church groups, politicians and children's advocates who say it is inhumane. "I think it is a terrible law", Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) said in May, adding that it's an issue that has "real bipartisan support" in Congress.

"We make decisions based on the ability to detain and the ability of courts to take these cases, but we no longer exempt categories or classes of individuals", a Department of Homeland Security official said.

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He also refuted the claim that agents were surreptitiously misleading children and parents in order to separate them, as well as one report which detailed a mother being separated from her child during breastfeeding.

The new figures are for people who tried to enter the United States between official border crossings.

Almost 2,000 minors were separated from their parents or adult guardians who illegally crossed into the United States over a recent six-week period, officials said Friday, as debate raged over how to end the deeply controversial practice.

There were an additional 38 minors separated at ports of entry in May through June 6. There were more than 55 in April and a high of 64 in March, according to the figures.

On a conference call with reporters on Friday, Department of Homeland Security officials told reporters that prosecutions have more than doubled, but acknowledges they are not now at 100 percent. Asked why they are prioritizing families in this effort as opposed to single adults, as they get closer to 100%, officials declined to explain how they choose whom to refer.


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