Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson joined Tuesday with attorneys general from 19 other states and Washington, D.C. to call on federal officials to stop separating children from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border.
In the letter to U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions and U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, the group of Democratic attorneys general calls the Trump administration’s enforcement of a zero-tolerance policy “inhumane,” adding that it “also raises serious concerns regarding the violation of children’s rights, constitutional principles of due process and equal protection, and the efforts of state law enforcement officials to stop crime.”
In a statement, Swanson, who is also a DFL candidate for governor, reiterated her opposition to the policy, which has resulted in nearly 2,000 children being separated from their parents since April.
“Splitting children from parents is inhumane, and we can do better as a nation,” she said.
Under the policy, any adult crossing the border outside of official ports of entry to claim asylum faces prosecution, whether or not they have a criminal history. Children traveling with them are separated while adults go through the legal process, a change from the government’s previous practice of releasing families together while adults await prosecution.
Facing outcry over the policy, federal officials have said that the children are well cared for in federal detention centers.
In the letter, the attorneys general argue that the policy of separation is not in the best interest of the children who end up at the border. “The notion that the government should intrude into the rights of a parent to be with their child has historically been met with extremely high levels of scrutiny,” they wrote.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Article Publish Date:
June 19, 2018