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Trump’s child separation policy renews calls to suspend the Safe Third Country Agreement

@jbmoorephoto – “A Honduran asylum seeker, 2, and her mother are taken into custody near the US-Mexico border. The Trump administration’s ‘zero tolerance’ policy for undocumented immigrants calls for the separation of parents and children.”

The Council of Canadians shares in the global outrage at the Trump administration’s policy of separating children from their parents crossing the United States-Mexico border and calls on the Trudeau government to take meaningful action.

CNN reports, “The Trump administration recently decided that every adult caught crossing the border illegally will be charged with federal crimes instead of referring those with children to immigration courts. The harsher punishments for immigrant parents mean their children are separated from them and there’s no clear procedure for reunification aside from hotlines the parents can call to try to track down their children.”

The Globe and Mail has published a piece by U.S.-based political commentator Sarah Kendzior who writes, “Under the direction of Donald Trump and Attorney-General Jeff Sessions, the U.S. government has snatched roughly 2,000 children of asylum seekers from their parents – including an infant girl who was taken from her wailing mother while breastfeeding – and put them in detention camps. They are there for the crime of existing, as migrant children fleeing foreign violence and oppression, in Mr. Trump’s United States. The boys are being housed in what used to be a Walmart, where they are allowed outside for two hours a day. (No one seems to know where the girls and the babies are.)”

Kendzior adds, “[The Republican Party could make this stop] by holding Mr. Trump and officials, who have flagrantly broken the law, accountable for their crimes and striking down their policies. They refuse to do so. They let Mr. Trump choose what the United States is – to make his alternative facts reality, to rewrite laws to suit his needs, since he knows the morally weak will make excuses rather than confront their own complicity.”

NDP MP Tracey Ramsey has tweeted Kendzior’s commentary noting, “There is no one who believes that the US is a safe country anymore- Canada must do the right thing and Suspend Safe Third Country status for US.”

The Council of Canadians has long opposed the so-called Safe Third Country agreement with the United States.

In 2005, Maude Barlow wrote, “The agreement is ostensibly based on the principle that refugees must claim refuge in the first country they reach as long as that country is ‘safe’ for them. But it is really based on strong pressure from the Bush White House, which views refugees as a security problem, to create a seamless North American refugee system, with the terms and conditions set in Washington.”

iPolitics now reports, “Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, when pressed during question period, would not condemn a new U.S. policy that has resulted in 2,000 children being ripped from their parents’ arms at the U.S.-Mexico border in the last six weeks.” And CBC reports, “Asked today if Canada can still consider the U.S. a safe country in light of the crackdown, Transport Minister Marc Garneau, chair of the cabinet committee on U.S. relations,  said: ‘Of course we can.’ …Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen said the government will analyze the situation to determine the impact of the Trump administration’s policy on due process, appeals rights and migrants’ ability to make asylum claims.”

NDP MP Jenny Kwan says, “If we do nothing, then we’re all complicit. We cannot allow for this to happen.”

For an 11-minute interview by MSNBC Chris Hayes with Laura St. John from the Florence Project and Lee Gelernt from the American Civil Liberties Union on the Trump administration separating children from their parents, please click here.