USA: Trump's executive order 'a betrayal of families fleeing persecution'

The US immigration policy of separating and detaining children has led to a storm of protest © John Moore/Getty Images

Responding to news that US President Donald Trump signed an executive order today mandating for children to stay with their parents in detention while their asylum claims are processed, Denise Bell, Refugee and Migrant rights Researcher at Amnesty International USA, said:

“Make no mistake, this executive order is a betrayal of families fleeing violence and persecution. Mothers, fathers, and children must not be held behind bars for prolonged periods for seeking safety. Not only does imprisoning children go against our country’s shared values of dignity and equality, but it is also unlawful and threatens to permanently stain the U.S. human rights record.

“Over the last few weeks, we have seen an outcry from people around the world denouncing the cruel and unnecessary separation of more than 2,000 babies and children from their parents. In response, the Trump administration has now found another way to punish parents and children for seeking protection. Detaining families is not the solution to ending family separation.

“People who are running for their lives have the right to seek protection. The United States cannot continue to treat vulnerable families fleeing horrific violence and persecution like criminals. We must do everything we can to ensure protection for people who have lost everything. It is time to end family detention once and for all.”

The executive order seeks to modify the Flores Agreement, which states that children should not be held in detention for more than 20 days.

Amnesty has campaigned to end the practice of family detention, urging the Department of Homeland Security to release families fleeing violence and persecution.

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