Ravina Shamdasani: "The U.S. should immediately halt this practice of separating families and stop criminalizing what should at most be an administrative offense, that of irregular entry and stay in the U.S. There is nothing normal about detaining children".
"The US should immediately halt this practice", she told reporters in Geneva.
In a briefing on Tuesday, Shamdasani called the practice a "serious violation" of children's rights and called the separations "arbitrary and unlawful".
Also on Tuesday, NBC reported that "border agents and child welfare workers are running out of space to shelter children who have been separated from their parents", and that out of the 550 children who have now been held longer than 72 hours, 300 were under the age of 12. "Border Security laws should be changed but the Dems can't get their act together!"
Donald Trump tweeted on the issue on Tuesday, blaming the opposition party.
The Trump administration will soon begin fingerprinting parents claiming custody of children who entered the United States illegally without an adult relative, officials said a week ago, prompting criticism that children may be abandoned by those who fear being identified and deported.
"What is happening is we are having more people coming, bringing children with them, entering between the ports of entry illegally and you can not give them immunity". The policy, announced in April by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, directs authorities to prosecute all instances of illegal border crossings.
Shamdasani stressed that children's rights were "generally held in high regard" in the United States, but she lamented that the country was the only one in the world that had not yet ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Despite this, she insisted, Washington was bound by worldwide human rights laws that its current practices were flouting.
"The child's best interest should always come first, including over migration management objectives or other administrative concerns", she continued, emphasizing that the policy "runs counter to human rights standards and principles". "We will remain a generous country, but we are also a sovereign country, with laws that decide how best to control our borders and protect our people".
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