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'US will not be a migrant camp': Trump stands firm despite pressure over children being separated from parents

A photo of a two-year-old girl crying as her mother is searched by US border patrol agents has gone viral.

Two Mexican children look at supporters of President Trump waving US-American flags and holding up signs in support of the wall in Tijuana, Mexico
Two Mexican children look at supporters of President Trump waving US-American flags and holding up signs in support of the wall in Tijuana, Mexico
Image: DPA/PA Images

A PHOTO OF a two-year-old girl crying as her mother is searched by US border patrol agents has gone viral as the controversy around migrant children being separated from their parents deepens.

The Getty Images photographer John Moore described on Instagram how the two-year-old Honduran girl and her mother were 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 while their cases for political asylum are adjudicated, a process that can take months — or years.

“As the father myself, this photograph was especially difficult for me to take. It is one from a series yesterday while I was on a ride-along with the Border Patrol in Texas’ Río Grande.”

View this post on Instagram

A Honduran asylum seeker, 2, and her mother are taken into custody by federal agents near the US-Mexico border. They had just crossed the Rio Grande from Mexico and were to be transported to a US Customs and Border Protection processing center. The Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” policy for undocumented immigrants calls for the separation of parents and children while their cases for political asylum are adjudicated, a process that can take months - or years. As a father myself, this photograph was especially difficult for me to take. It is one from a series i took while on a ride-along with the Border Patrol in Texas’ Río Grande Valley. #gettyimages #undocumented #gettyimagesnews

A post shared by John Moore (@jbmoorephoto) on

Official data shows about 2,000 children have been separated from their parents or guardians since early May, when the administration said it would arrest and charge all migrants illegally crossing the Mexican border, regardless of whether they were seeking asylum.

Since children cannot be sent to the facilities where their parents are held and so they are separated from them.

Amnesty International has likened the practice to “torture” and described it as “spectacularly cruel” while the Secretary-General of the United Nations said ”children must not be traumatised by being separated from their parents”.

US President Donald Trump is facing soaring pressure to end the separation of immigrant families but today he insisted that the United States would not become a “migrant camp”, saying:

The United States will not be a migrant camp, and it will not be a refugee holding facility.

“You look at what’s happening in Europe, you look at what’s happening in other places, we can’t allow that to happen to the United States … Not on my watch.”

‘Cages’

Democrats visited processing and detention facilities in Texas over the past couple of days, including a converted Walmart supermarket which is housing some 1,500 immigrant children.

They said children are being held behind chain-link fencing inside the centers. House Democrat Mark Pocan said:

I went into these facilities yesterday. They are cages.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said: ”President Trump’s family separation policy leaves a dark stain on our nation.

Ripping vulnerable little children away from their parents is an utter atrocity that debases America’s values and our legacy as a beacon of hope, opportunity and freedom.

Yesterday first Lady Melania Trump uncharacteristically waded into the debate saying she “hates” to see families separated.

She called for bipartisan immigration measures to fix the issue but stopping short of denouncing her husband’s policy.

Laura Bush, the wife of former president George W Bush, has also come out against the zero-tolerance policy describing it on Twitter as ‘cruel’ and ‘immoral’.

It was later retweeted by her successor as first lady Michelle Obama who wrote, “sometimes truth transcends party”.

Additional reporting by AFP

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