Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) is defending the Trump administration’s policy of separating migrants from their children when they are apprehended at the border, saying it “is the inevitable consequence of somebody being arrested for” crossing the border.
“There’s actually a court order that prevents keeping the kids with the parents when you put the parents in jail,” Cruz told the Dallas public radio station KERA on Monday, according to a report in The Dallas Morning News.
“So when you see reporters, when you see Democrats saying don’t separate kids from their parents, what they’re really saying is don’t arrest illegal aliens,” Cruz said.
“There is a reason why under the Obama administration that often didn’t happen, because when they apprehended people here illegally, they just let them go. And when you let them go, you didn’t separate children from parents,” Cruz said. “There’s no doubt that illegal immigration causes human tragedies and many of those tragedies are visited on kids.”
The United Nations human rights office last week demanded that the Trump administration “immediately halt” its policy of tearing migrant children away from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border, declaring that the practice “always constitutes a child rights violation.”
Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who unveiled the administration’s zero-tolerance policy last month, directed border agents to separate children from their parents at the border and prosecute the adults. The administration has framed the new policy as a deterrent to stop migrants from attempting to enter the country.
Ravina Shamdasani, a spokesperson for the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, said in a statement that the office is “deeply concerned” by the U.S. government’s decision to separate migrant families, arguing that the policy “amounts to arbitrary and unlawful interference in family life, and is a serious violation of the rights of the child.”
“Children should never be detained for reasons related to their own or their parents’ migration status. Detention is never in the best interests of the child,” Shamdasani declared, noting that the practice seems to have been in effect since October and has been applied “to both asylum-seekers and other migrants in vulnerable situations.”
“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.”
“The majority of people arriving at the U.S.’s southern border have fled Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador—in many cases either because of rampant insecurity and violence, or because of violations of a range of other rights, such as health, education, and housing,” she noted. “The U.S. should immediately halt this practice of separating families and stop criminalizing what should at most be an administrative offense.”