Mexico condemns family separations at border

Mother Jones illustration Chris Kleponis  CNP  ZUMA U.S. Customs and Border Protection  AP

According to official data, more than 2000 migrant children have been separated from their families at the Mexico-US border over a period of six weeks since the policy was enforced in April.

Mexico has come under criticism for its own treatment of Central Americans - detaining and deporting thousands of migrants, who don't have the proper papers - as they transit the country on unsafe trips trying to reach the USA border.

In recent years, the rampant violence and poverty in Central American nations has driven people by the thousands to seek refuge or a better life in the United States. The agency then is responsible for placing the children in shelters or foster homes until they are united with a relative or sponsor in the community as they await immigration court hearings. A spokesman for the French government called the images of these children "shocking" and said Europe does not share the same values as the Trump administration.

"When you prosecute the parents for coming in illegally, which should happen, you have to take the children away".

Adults caught crossing the border without using a legal port of entry face criminal charges, but the children are not.

By law, child migrants traveling alone must be sent to facilities run by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services within three days of being detained.

He said the Mexican government has been providing support since the policy was announced.

Following the outcry, Trump, facing domestic and worldwide backlash, signed an executive order Wednesday to end the administration's controversial practice of separating migrant children from parents crossing the US border illegally.

The policy has sparked condemnation from Democrats, some of Trump's fellow Republicans, U.N. officials, medical professionals and rights activists.

In its most recent annual report on Global Trends in Forced Migration, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), notes that "the U.S. received the largest number of new claims for asylum with 331,700 in 2017 - almost double the 172,700 claims from two years previous and a continuation of an upward trend that began in 2013". Most of the children are from Central America, especially Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador. "I'd rather find work here than risk going further and have them taken from me".

A day earlier Videgaray expressed Mexico's "emphatic condemnation" of the USA border policy, calling it "cruel and inhumane". He also said Mexico would be working closely with the Central American governments to address the situation. The Mexican government, and I want it to be clear, does not promote illegality, illegal migration.

But others within sight of their goal after grueling journeys from Central America said they were unwilling to give up and return to the horrors they had left behind. Through the end of May, nearly 2,000 children were separated from adults who said they were their parents or guardians, the Department of Homeland Security said last week.

Josue Mendez and his girlfriend, Carmen Palma, said they left San Salvador with their three children after Palma was pressured by a gang member into becoming his sexual partner.

"Our plan was to cross to the other side and wait for border patrol", he said, in a migrant shelter in Tijuana, as the family prepared to apply. You hear it here: They do nothing for us. "So that's what we've done". Three of the children are US citizens and were released to an aunt. "When that bond is broken through long and unexpected separations with no set timeline for reunion, children respond at the deepest physiological and emotional levels", she said.

"This is not a partisan issue", she said.

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