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Californian’s now facing a pair of wildfires; Also on the Tuesday rundown: Higher education in New Jersey: a racial split; plus food resources still available despite the “public charge” proposal.

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MN Children's Advocates: End Migrant Family Separations

The Children's Defense Fund calls the Trump administration's "zero tolerance" policy that separates children from their parents at the border "indefensible child abuse." (capsweb.org)
The Children's Defense Fund calls the Trump administration's "zero tolerance" policy that separates children from their parents at the border "indefensible child abuse." (capsweb.org)
June 20, 2018

ST. PAUL, Minn. - Congressional Republicans met with President Donald Trump on Tuesday to hammer out a solution to the backlash over the controversial separation of undocumented immigrants and their young children at the U.S.-Mexico border.

Children's advocates say the "zero tolerance" policy has resulted in "cruel abandonment," and worry that it was initiated without serious consideration of how the children eventually will be reunited with their parents.

Bharti Wahi, executive director of the Children's Defense Fund Minnesota, said separating families doesn't fit the country's child-welfare laws.

"It's a sad day when the federal government chooses harming children as a way in which they're going to enforce their immigration strategy," she said.

New polls show two-thirds of Americans disapprove of the separation policy. Ninety percent of Democrats and 68 percent of independents disapprove, and 39 percent of Republicans polled said they find it unacceptable.

The separations have occurred because the Justice Department can't prosecute children along with their parents, resulting in nearly 2,000 immigrant children being housed separately from their parents. Wahi said the Trump administration should abandon the abusive practice.

"Unfortunately in this country, we do have a history of separating particularly children of color from their parents - during slavery, the internment camps with the Japanese - and I think that this is not history we want to repeat," she said.

When adults are arrested at the border, the government takes them to a detention facility and places their children with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Wahi said the policy violates all research related to childhood development.

"Our federal government has decided to traumatize children, and there will be lasting repercussions for these children as they move forward," she said. "Children hold these memories not just in their minds but in their bodies, and it is absolutely horrific that our federal government is doing this."

Since 2014, hundreds of thousands of children and families have fled to America from countries such as Guatemala and El Salvador to escape violence, gang activity and poverty.

Roz Brown, Public News Service - MN