Speed Reads

Shut it down

U.N. calls on Trump to 'immediately halt' migrant family separation

The United Nations on Tuesday urged President Trump to put an "immediate halt" to his administration's policy of separating children from their parents when the family has crossed the border illegally or, in some cases, when the family follows legal procedure to seek asylum at border checkpoints.

"Children should never be detained for reasons related to their own parents' migration status," said U.N. human rights office representative Ravina Shamdasani. "Detention is never in the best interests of the child and always constitutes a child rights violation."

Trump has attempted to deflect criticism of the family separation policy by claiming twice on Twitter, once in May and once Tuesday morning, that it "is the fault of bad legislation passed by the Democrats." In reality, the family separations are not required by law and were instituted by the Trump administration as an immigration deterrent. "If you don't like that," said Attorney General Jeff Sessions earlier this month, "then don't smuggle children over our border."

Sessions has continued to defend the policy even as Trump labels it "horrible." In a radio interview Tuesday, he said "it's certainly not our goal to separate children," but the policy should serve as a warning because "the United States can't be a total guarantor that every parent who comes to the country unlawfully with a child is guaranteed ... that they will be able to have their hand on that child the entire time."

Through repeated questioning, Sessions skirted any ethical critique the separation policy, conceding only that it is a "tough thing" to "separate children from their parents."