Since the Trump administration decreed a “zero tolerance” and implemented a policy to fight against illegal immigration, nearly 2,000 children have been separated from their parents arrested at the US border, US Department of Homeland Security said Friday.
Between April 19 and May 31, 1995 minors traveling with 1940 adults who identified themselves as their parents or guardians were separated while their parents were arrested and detained by police pending prosecution.
“We will no longer ignore the law,” the Trump administration told the US Department of Homeland Security spokesman Jonathan Hoffman in a conference call on Friday.
“We are among the highest standards of detention in the world for children,” he added to defend the conditions of reception of minors.
The children have been separated from their parents since the US government decided to arrest all asylum seekers who cross the border illegally, whether they are accompanied by minors or not.
This measure was announced publicly on April 6th .
In addition to a helpline that parents can use to trace their child, reunification procedures are rather vague.
Increase in the number of illegal immigrants
Families of migrants, mostly fleeing Central America and its endemic violence, have been separated since at least October 2017. Several of them had come to seek asylum, says the Democratic opposition.
But the pace has accelerated significantly since the beginning of May.
US Attorney General Jeff Sessions reiterated on Thursday that children can not be sent to the prison where their loved ones are held because they are not charged with a crime, while their parents are.
“We are currently in a situation where we either choose to enforce the law, or we decide to ignore it,” said a spokesperson at Friday’s conference call.
Meanwhile, the US president blames the Democratic opposition for the congressional blockades of immigration reform.
Donald Trump denounces a policy implemented especially under the Obama administration that families arrested are released pending their appearance before a judge.
This argument was repeated Friday by a manager during the conference call.
“We hope that Congress will work with us to make the necessary changes to avoid such situations, where parents and children are encouraged to try to enter illegally by putting themselves in dangerous situations. ”
Diane Elliot is a seasoned journalist with nearly 12 years experience. While studying journalism at University of Southern California, Diane found a passion for finding engaging stories. As a contributor to Coastal Morning Star, Diane mostly covers human interest pieces.