BARCELONA, Spain, 22 June 2018 — In view of the situation of at least 2,300 children who have been separated from their families on the United States-Mexico border, international children’s agency Educo demand the US government to immediately allow children to meet with their parents, mothers, and relatives who are currently under immigration proceedings. Despite the fact that President Donald Trump signed an executive order on Wednesday that put an end to this practice, Educo says that this order does not include specific measures for children who have already been separated from their families.
The imprecise language of the order creates a legal loophole, especially in regard to migrant children who are already in the custody of the State and does not include concrete measures to reverse the situation. In this sense, Educo calls for immediate action to ensure that they return to their families and requires a US policy to end any form of violence, such as separating minors from their families.
According to figures from the US Department of Homeland Security, of the 2,324 children who have been separated from their families and held in 100 detention centers, most of them come from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador.
The children’s agency wants to show its concern about how the “Zero Tolerance” policy of the United States affects children, whose objective is the separation of undocumented parents from their children as a sanction for people who try to illegally migrate to the US.
EDUCO Global Child Protection Specialist Laurence Cambianica, says that: “In addition to the trauma that the children have suffered from when they crossed the border, the separation of their families exposes them to an even stronger emotional trauma that can have consequences from medium and long-term.”
The children’s agency demands that the best interests of the child be taken into account in the trials of the families affected by the “Zero Tolerance” policy, and that the acceleration of the trials and the elimination of the deadlines that limit the detention of children, girls, and adolescents do not further violate the rights of the children involved.
Laurence Cambianica further reiterates that “the family provides a stable and loving environment for children. It gives them emotional security, which helps them to deal with stressful situations. If we separate the sons and daughters from their parents and relatives, this fact can have a strong negative impact on their health and their emotional and cognitive development. “