UN office calls on US to stop separating families at border

UN calls on Trump to ‘immediately halt’ policy on separating migrant families at border

"The child's best interest should always come first, including over migration management objectives or other administrative concerns", she said. "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". The US is the only UN member state that has not ratified the UN convention on children's rights, but since it has ratified similar conventions, it has a legal obligation to every child in "its care", the UN spokesperson says, calling the separations "arbitrary and unlawful".

According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection, more than 650 children were separated from the parents at the border during a two-week period in May.

Of the 300 children that have been there longer than 72 hours, nearly half are under the age of 12, according to the report.

"If people do not want to be separated from their children, then they should not bring them with them", he added.

"It would place these children at risk of harm if they are housed with adults without the proper privacy that children should have".

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Under that policy, parents must be separated from children, and the children are handed over to a separate agency where they are then supposed to be placed in the charge of other United States guardians.

Peter Boogaard, a former DHS and White House official in the Obama administration and now a spokesman for immigration reform group FWD.us says these children having nowhere to go and being away from their parents is not entirely the fault of HSS. "What's happening now is a broad indication of a total lack of planning or forethought for the policy they enacted", he tells NBC. "They didn't think this through at all - what it would mean for kids, for their parents and for the operational challenges". Trump didn't even bother to make clear the Democratic law that ostensibly forced his hand on the issue, because one does not exist.

Also on Tuesday, NBC reported that "border agents and child welfare workers are running out of space to shelter children who have been separated from their parents", and that out of the 550 children who have now been held longer than 72 hours, 300 were under the age of 12.

The rights office said children should never be detained for reasons related to their own or their parents' migration status.

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