U.N. Harshly Criticizes U.S. Policy Toward Immigrant Children


The Office of the Human Rights of the United Nations harshly criticized the U.S. this week for the policy of separating young immigrant children from their parents at its southern border. Spokesperson for the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Ravina Shamdasani called the policy a violation of human rights.

“We are deeply concerned that the zero tolerance policy recently put in place along the US southern border has led to people caught entering the country irregularly being subjected to criminal prosecution and having their children – including extremely young children -taken away from them as a result,” Shamdasani wrote.

“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 and always constitutes a child rights violation,” she added.

In April the Trump administration adopted a zero tolerance policy against illegal border crossings and Attorney General Jeff Sessions directed U.S. Customs and Border authorities to prosecute all violations.

Separation of children from their parents is not a specific target of the policy, but it is a byproduct as parents entering the country illegally are charged with a crime while the children are not. The parents are therefore detained.

The U.N. would like to see instances of illegal immigration treated as “administrative offenses” at most, rather than crimes.

U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley lashed back at the U.N. for its criticism.

“Once again, the United Nations shows its hypocrisy by calling out the United States while it ignores the reprehensible human rights records of several members of its own Human Rights Council,” Haley said in a statement.

“We will remain a generous country, but we are also a sovereign country, with laws that decide how best to control our borders and protect our people. Neither the United Nations nor anyone else will dictate how the United States upholds its borders,” she added.

The U.N. Human Rights Office had criticized the U.S. earlier in the week for their poverty which they said seemed to be driven by “contempt and…hatred” for the poor.

“For one of the world’s wealthiest countries to have 40 million people living in poverty and over five million living in ‘Third World’ conditions is cruel and inhuman,” a report issued by U.N. Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, Philip Alston, read.

Photo by Villawood IDC via Wikimedia Commons

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