The UN last week rebuked the U.S. Department of Justice’s new “zero tolerance” border policy that separates children from their migrant parents.
Federal agents have taken away hundreds of children as young as 1-year-old from their parents after they illegally crossed the U.S. border with their families. The practice began even prior to the official policy’s announcement last month, The Guardian reported.
“The U.S. should immediately halt this practice,” Ravina Shamdasani, spokeswoman for the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, said last week in Geneva. Noting the United States’ general high regard for children’s rights, she said, “The use of immigration detention and family separation as a deterrent [to illegal border entry] runs counter to human rights standards and principles.”
President Donald Trump defended the policy last week.
“Separating families at the Border is the fault of bad legislation passed by the Democrats,” he tweeted, advocating for a change in security laws and adding, “the Dems can’t get their act together.”
Since 1989, the UN has often criticized the United States for not ratifying the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), an international treaty that, if ratified by the Senate, would become U.S. law and give bureaucrats in Geneva the right to mandate the “best interests” of U.S. children. The U.S. refusal to ratify stems from the assumption that U.S. families and parents, not the government, should decide on their children’s best interests, according to a 2009 paper by the Home School Legal Defense Association. But the Trump administration’s separation policy does not allow the same for illegal immigrant parents.
“We reject the idea that separating children from parents is a sensible component of any immigration policy,” said Russell Moore, president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention. “As Christians, we affirm both the rule of law and compassion for the vulnerable. Splitting up families is not in the best interests of the United States. American policy, even immigration policy, should promote the flourishing of families.” —R.H.