The US Government said that 1,995 children have been separated from 1,940 adults between April 19 and May 31 as part of the Trump administration’s stricter border control policies.
This has occurred as the result of a ‘zero tolerance’ policy announced by US Attorney General Jeff Session under which criminal charges are placed against those who attempt to enter the US illegally.
As children are exempt from this prosecution, it has resulted in a large number of families being separated.
A spokesperson for the Department of Homeland Security reportedly said the families have been separated so that parents could be criminally prosecuted.
“Advocates want us to ignore the law and give people with families a free pass. We no longer exempt entire classes of people,” they reportedly said.
The Trump administration has faced criticism for this policy from the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights who said the practice “amounts to arbitrary and unlawful interference in family life, and is a serious violation of the rights of the child”.
US Democrats have also been vocal in their opposition to the policy, with House minority leader Nancy Pelosi labelling it “shameful”.