Washington, Jul 25 (EFE).- A group of Democratic lawmakers on Wednesday urged the Donald Trump administration to reunite the thousands of migrant children separated from their parents at the border with their parents within the 24 hours, when the deadline set by a federal judge expires.
“The American Academy of Pediatrics tells us what’s happened to these kids … is institutional child abuse, at the hands of our government,” said Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin, the second highest lawmaker within his party in the upper house, at a press conference.
“The bottom line is this: this is a disgraceful chapter in our history, and we’re only coming to the end because of a federal judge (and a court order). There are lives that will be harmed and changed forever because of this zero tolerance policy,” said Durbin.
The practice “doesn’t reflect the values of the American people. The American people are caring people. They do not want children to be victims of this type of political exploitation,” he added.
However, Durbin and his colleagues said they regretted the fact that the Trump administration “will not comply” with the deadline, given that – on Wednesday there are “about 2,000” children who are being held apart from their parents due to the
US government’s zero tolerance policy on illegal immigration.
Durbin called the situation a mixture of “toxic cruelty” and “incompetence.”
To date, the US government has reunited with their parents just 58 of the 103 children under age 5 who had been removed from their parents’ custody after they illegally crossed the US border, according to figures provided by Democratic lawmaker Yvette Clarke at the same press conference.
Besides criticizing the slowness of the process of reuniting the kids and their parents, Democrats derided some of the conditions under which the parents and children are being held at detention centers.
“These centers are not federal property, but rather are private. That means that they want to maximize their profits at all costs,” Congressman Luis Gutierrez told EFE.
Among other things, the lawmakers criticized the fact that the parents are being forced to pay $8 for a telephone call if they want to speak with their children.
A group of 145 Democratic legislators on Monday demanded in a letter sent to Immigration and Customs Enforcement that authorities stop assessing the $8-per-call charge from parents being held in detention centers