Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has commented on the practice of separating immigrant families as they cross in the US when he spoke to media on Wednesday.
“What’s going on in the US is wrong.
“I can’t imagine what the families living through this are enduring. Obviously, this is not the way we do things in Canada,” Trudeau said to reporters in a brief statement during a weekly caucus meeting.
On May 7, US Attorney General Jeff Sessions spoke in San Diego, California to announce increased enforcement along America’s southern border, stating that they would enact a “zero tolerance” policy for those attempting to make the crossing illegally.
“If you cross this border unlawfully, then we will prosecute you. It’s that simple. If you smuggle illegal aliens across our border, then we will prosecute you. If you are smuggling a child, then we will prosecute you and that child will be separated from you as required by law,” Sessions stated.
“If you make false statements to an immigration officer or file a fraudulent asylum claim, that’s a felony. If you help others to do so, that’s a felony, too. You’re going to jail. So if you’re going to come to this country, come here legally. Don’t come here illegally.”
According to a CNN article, before the ramped up enforcement adults caught immigrating illegally into the US were at risk of being prosecuted for a misdemeanour federal offence, though “previous US administrations generally didn’t refer everyone caught for prosecution.”
They were instead put into immigration proceedings, where they would typically try to qualify for an asylum claim.
In the month that followed Session’s announcement, CNN reported that approximately 2,000 children have been separated from their parents as they were caught crossing into the US, and were taken to facilities run by the Department of Health and Human Service’s Office of Refugee Resettlement.
2,000 children have been taken from their families in the one month since the increased enforcement began. This is a stark contrast to the 700 children that the Department of Health and Human Services told the New York Times had faced the same fate in the six preceding months.
US President Donald Trump addressed the issue of family separation during his speech at the National Federation of Independent Businesses 75th Anniversary Celebration on Tuesday, laying the blame for the separations first on American Democrats, and then the Mexican Government.
I want to take a moment to address the current illegal immigration crisis on the Southern Border…it has been going on for many, many decades… pic.twitter.com/1F7EK9Ef88
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 19, 2018
“We have to get the Democrats to go ahead and work with us, because, as a result of Democrat-supported loopholes in our federal laws, most illegal immigrant families and minors from Central America who arrive unlawfully at the border cannot be detained together, or removed together, only released. These are crippling loopholes that cause family separation, which we don’t want,” stated Trump.
“They come up through Mexico, Mexico does nothing for us, you hear it here, they do nothing for us, they could stop it. They have very, very strong laws.”
He also stated that roughly half a million illegal immigrant families made their way into the US since 2014 as a result of these loopholes. After citing that statistic, he stated that no one actually has any idea how much it costs or what the immigrant legislation means.
“Nobody knows how much we’re paying for this monstrosity that’s been created over the years, legislation that nobody has any idea what they’re doing, they don’t even know what it means,” Trump said.
Trudeau made a statement on Wednesday regarding World Refugee Day, urging people everywhere to show compassion for those who are forced to flee their homes.
“Today, I ask Canadians and people around the world to stand with refugees, displaced people, and all those who are forced to leave home behind,” he said.
“How we treat the most vulnerable among us defines who we are – as individuals, as countries, and as a global community. Let’s choose justice over fear and compassion over division – because to see ourselves in each other, all we have to do is look.”