TEHRAN, Young Journalists Club (YJC) -A former first lady of the United States, Laura Bush, has blasted the Trump administration for separating Central American immigrant children from their parents at the southern border, describing President Donald Trump’s so-called “zero tolerance” policy “cruel” and “immoral.”
In an op-ed for The Washington Post published on Sunday night, the wife of former President George W. Bush censured the Trump administration for its "zero tolerance" policy about undocumented immigrants in which numerous families have been separated after crossing the US-Mexico border.
“I live in a border state,” Bush wrote. “I appreciate the need to enforce and protect our international boundaries, but this zero-tolerance policy is cruel. It is immoral. And it breaks my heart.”
This comes as more disturbing images and accounts from inside the detention centers have emerged. According to some reports, children are being kept in “cages” at some detention faculties after being separated from their parents, who crossed the border with proper documents.
Bush wrote that the makeshift prisons holding kids were “eerily reminiscent” of Japanese-American internment camps during World War II.
“Americans pride ourselves on being a moral nation,” she wrote. “If we are truly that country, then it is our obligation to reunite these detained children with their parents — and to stop separating parents and children in the first place."
Nearly 2,000 immigrant children were separated from parents over a period of about six weeks in April and May, according to the Department of Homeland Security.
The number is a dramatic uptick from the nearly 1,800 family separations from October 2016 through February 2018.
Currently, there are over 10,000 children being detained in the United States.
The Trump administration's current policy of separating families was announced April 6 and went into effect in May. Previously, people who entered the country illegally and had no criminal record were detained or referred for deportation, and mothers and children usually remained together.
Democrats have condemned the new process, calling it inhumane and cruel. “This is not a zero-tolerance policy — this is a zero-humanity policy,” said Senator Jeff Merkley, who recently visited detention centers in Texas to see where immigrant children were being held.
A US border patrol official told Reuters children are sometimes separated from the adults they are traveling with if officials suspect the relationship is fraudulent.
Once children are separated, they are treated as unaccompanied minors under the care of the Department of Health and Human Services, which houses them in government facilities, puts them in temporary foster care, or releases them to adult sponsors in the United States.
The moves by the government to separate families have been widely decried by the United Nations, medical professionals and a wide swath of US religious leaders.
In her op-ed, Bush called for “good people at all levels of government” to resolve this issue.
“In 2018, can we not as a nation find a kinder, more compassionate and more moral answer to this current crisis?” she wrote. “I, for one, believe we can.”
Source: Press TV