Published: Wed, June 20, 2018
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

Editorial OTHERS SAY: Thanks, Jeff Sessions

Editorial OTHERS SAY: Thanks, Jeff Sessions

The U.N. children's agency says the Trump administration policy of separating migrant children from their families is "not right", citing "heartbreaking" cases where even some babies are taken from their parents.

The Intercept reported Saturday that the number of asylum seekers being met by U.S. Customs & Border Protection agents (CBP) at ports of entry and turned away illegally could number in the thousands. Dianne Feinstein's comparisons of Nazi Germany's death camps to the shelters housing children separated from their parents and unaccompanied minors who crossed the border.

Advocates of the separations are arguing that hundreds of children are taken from parents who commit various crimes across the U.S. on a daily basis. This has been compounded by subsequent policies making asylum protection unavailable to victims of domestic and gang violence, even to those who properly request asylum at USA ports of entry.

Almost 2,000 migrant children have been separated from their parents at the border thanks to the Trump administration's controversial policy on illegal border crossings.

A group of 75 former US attorney from across the political spectrum has released an open letter demanding Attorney General Jeff Sessions end the family separation policy instituted under the administration of President Donald Trump.

Dozens of former US attorneys, appointed under Democratic and Republican administrations, also pressed Sessions in a separate letter Tuesday to end the practice, calling it a "radical departure" from previous DOJ policy. Previous reports confirm there is no part of U.S. immigration law specifically orders that families must be split up at the border. "So yes, hopefully, people will get the message and come through the border at the port of entry and not break across the border unlawfully". In the Northwest, there are 123 people being held at the Sheridan Federal Correctional Institution and 203 people at the SeaTac Federal Detention Center in Seattle.

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He addressed the "zero tolerance" policy during a meeting with congress members at the White House Wednesday.

On Monday, Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper banned state employees and resources from supporting any federal practices that separates families due to their immigration status, saying the Trump administration's policy was offensive and ran counter to Coloradan values.

Anti-immigrant lawmakers and members of the Trump administration have scrambled to defend the "zero-tolerance" policy since its implementation in early April.

On Tuesday, a a Justice spokesman said that Sessions' reference to deterrence related only to the policy provision that all illegal immigrants would be prosecuted, not that children would be separated from parents as a result.

"This balanced approach is especially critical when we are faced with persons seeking entry who may be eligible under established USA laws for the protection of asylum, as they flee persecution, horrific violence, or danger in their home countries", they said. The figures are for people who tried to enter the USA between official border crossings.

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