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The head of the United Nations for human rights called it “inadmissible.” Members of the two major parties in the United States reject it. And a former director of the CIA came to compare it with Nazi Germany.
The policy of the US government Separating children from their immigrant parents arrested crossing the border with Mexico has raised a growing wave of reproaches, which corners President Donald Trump.
The controversy became a key test of Trump’s determination to take his stand against immigration to the ultimate practical consequences, or to yield to the biggest moral questioning raised by figures like former First Lady Laura Bush.
Trump has sought to pass on the pressure to the Democratic opposition, falsely claiming him responsible for the separation of migrant families, for refusing to vote the laws that in his opinion would decompress border pressure.
But at the same time he and members of his government defended the adoption of the policy of “zero tolerance” on the border, which leads to criminal prosecution of immigrants who cross without papers and send their children to detention centers for minors.
Trump is known for his risky bets, but many believe that this time he went too far.
“Clearly you are having very real political costs and the question is how effectively you can defend this,” warns Bruce Oppenheimer, a professor of political science at Vanderbilt University.
“There could be diseases, children dying in accidents, all kinds of things could happen when it comes to so many children, and the responsibility for what is going to happen will be from this administration,” Oppenheimer tells BBC Mundo.
“Abuse” and “torture”
The criticism of Trump hardened after his government indicated on Friday that he separated nearly 2,000 children from his parents between April 19 and May 31.
While shocking images of children were circulating in border arrest operations, Laura Bush – wife of George W. Bush, the last Republican president before Trump – became directly involved in the controversy.
” I live in a border state. I appreciate the need to enforce and protect our international borders, but this zero tolerance policy is cruel. It’s immoral. And my heart , ” wrote the former first lady in the newspaper The Washington Post ‘s Sunday.
If she compared the situation to the internment camps of Japanese Americans in World War II, the former CIA director during the Bush administration, retired General Michael Hayden, did so with Nazi practices.
” Other governments have separated mothers and children, ” Hayden wrote in his personal Twitter account, about a black and white photo of a Nazi camp of concentration and extermination at Auschwitz.
The White House had already rejected as “unacceptable” and “insulting” the parallelism between the separation of migrant families in the United States. and the Nazi measures, when it was previously drawn by the MSNBC TV network host Joe Scarborough.
“Scarborough’s rhetoric is not only shameful, but its facts are categorically false,” he said, “when American citizens break the law, are separated from their children and prosecuted.” It is not clear why Scarborough believes that illegal immigrants have more rights than those who they are granted to American citizens, “White House deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley said in a statement.
But just as those comparisons continued, other indications to the Trump government also emerged from international organizations.
On Monday, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights was deeply concerned about the “cruel practice” of forcibly removing children from their parents.
“The idea of any State trying to dissuade parents (of immigrating) by inflicting such abuse on children is inconceivable,” said Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, opening a session of the Human Rights Council.
The director for the Americas of the non-governmental organization Amnesty International, Erika Guevara-Rosas, maintained that “these acts comply with the definitions of torture under US and international law”, for the mental damage they bring to families for coercive purposes.
“Assassins and thieves”
Trump has responded to questions with a peculiar defense of his government’s policy, suggesting that adult migrants arrested at the border could be “killers and thieves, and much more.”
“We want a safe country, and that begins at the borders,” the president said Monday, the same day he criticized Europe’s migration policies and said that crime in Germany is on the increase, something that is contrary to what they say. the official statistics.
In addition, he again accused the Democratic opposition of being “obstructionist” and responsible for the separation of families in the US, demanding a change in immigration laws.
US First Lady Melania Trump said on Sunday that she “hates to see children separated from their families and hopes that both sides (Democrats and Republicans) can finally join” to achieve immigration reform.
“We need to be a country that respects the laws, but also a country that governs with a heart,” the statement said.
But the strategy of pressuring the Democrats to modify the US immigration laws, agree to limit the asylum criteria and build a wall on the border with Mexico, so far has not worked for the White House.
Several Democratic lawmakers, as well as former President Bill Clinton, argued that Trump uses migrant children as a political “bargaining tool”.
On the other hand, the Republican Party is divided on this issue and more and more voices in its ranks join the demands for the government to reverse.
“The president should immediately end this policy of family separation,” Republican Senator Ben Sasse said via Facebook on Monday.
Oppenheimer, at Vanderbilt University, points out that “blaming the Democrats for not changing the law is simply foolishness without sustenance,” because it is up to the Executive to decide how to proceed on these issues.
“The government does not have to do what it is doing,” he concludes. “This does not sound like a negotiation, it starts to sound like extortion.”