SANTIAGO – Chilean President Sebastian Pinera joined the tide of criticism this week from Latin American nations over U.S. family separation policy at the Mexico-U.S. border.
“No immigration policy should stop taking care, welcoming and protecting children. This is a universal principal, a principal that more than anything reflects values,” said Pinera while inaugurating a nursery and kindergarten for Chilean and foreign children in Santiago on World Refugee Day.
Es desgarrador e inaceptable ver niños separados de sus padres en frontera EEUU-México. Nuestra política migratoria busca impedir el ingreso a Chile de personas con antecedentes penales, pero siempre protegiendo y cuidando a los niños y nunca separando o dividiendo a las familias
— Sebastian Piñera (@sebastianpinera) June 20, 2018
Regional countries continued to react to U.S. President Donald Trump’s “zero tolerance” immigration policy, which has led to the unprecedented step of taking children as young as four away from their parents and keeping them in separate detention facilities.
Mexico on Wednesday demanded U.S. authorities immediately reunite a girl with Down’s syndrome and her brother with their parents.
Mexico’s Foreign Affairs Minister Luis Videgaray requested the U.S. take “all necessary actions” to reunite the family separated at the border.
A day earlier Videgaray expressed Mexico’s “emphatic condemnation” of the U.S. border policy, calling it “cruel and inhumane”. He urged the U.S. to reconsider the policy which, he said, “clearly violates human rights.”
The policy has also been fiercely criticized by Central American nations, including El Salvador and Honduras, and international organizations, such as the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).
According to official data, more than 2,000 migrant children have been separated from their families at the Mexico-U.S. border over a period of six weeks since the policy was enforced in April.
Following the outcry, Trump, facing domestic and international backlash, signed an executive order Wednesday to end the administration’s controversial practice of separating migrant children from parents crossing the U.S. border illegally.
“We are going to keep families together,” Trump said at the White House, adding that he “didn’t like the sight or the feeling” of the divided families.