Honduras called for the US to stop separating immigrant children from their parents at the US border, while El Salvador warned that the policy puts children’s health at risk and could cause psychosocial scars.
El Salvador’s foreign ministry said in a statement that the Trump administration’s hardline policy of separating immigrant parents and children violated human rights and “strongly urged” for an end to the practice.
“These provisions are mainly affecting migrant children and adolescents...exposing them to extremely adverse conditions, which will surely have consequences in their physical health and long-term psychosocial development,” the statement said.
The administration of US President Donald Trump has responded to an increase in immigration from Central America with a “zero tolerance” migration policy that provides for the arrest of all adults caught trying to enter the US illegally, including those seeking asylum.
Images of children and youths sitting in concrete-floored cages in US detention centres have fanned outrage over the policy.
Trump administration officials have defended the policy as a way to secure the border and deter illegal immigrants.
Official figures indicate that from mid-April to May, US authorities have divided more than 2,000 children from their families. Many are from Central America, where immigrants are fleeing poverty and widespread gang violence.
El Salvador insisted parents had the right to know where their children were and asked that consular officials be “speedily” notified of where the children have been taken.
Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez also called for an end to the family separations after meeting with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, echoing the call that children’s rights should come first.
“We can also see how many leaders, from both parties in Congress... have also emphasised that this should not continue,” he said, calling on US lawmakers to take action.
US Democrats blasted conditions in detention centres while the Republican-controlled US House of Representatives moved toward voting later this week on two pieces of immigration-related legislation.
Meanwhile, Mexico yesterday strongly condemned Trump’s administration yesterday for its policy of separating immigrant children and parents detained after crossing the US-Mexican border, calling it “inhuman.”
“In the name of the Mexican government and people, I want to express our most categorical and energetic condemnation of this cruel and inhuman policy,” Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray told a press conference.
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