U.S. Accused of Violating Human Rights

By Editor June 1, 2018 09:24

U.S. Accused of Violating Human Rights

Suzanne Gamboa of NBC.com reports that advocates, preparing a nationwide protest, are accusing the Trump Administration of violating human rights by separating children from undocumented migrants. –

“Dagoberto A Melchor Santacruz hasn’t seen his 16-year-old partially deaf son since the two came to the U.S. border to ask for asylum. Maria Andrés de la Cruz awaits reunification with her three young children that agents separated from her and put in an icy cold cell.

Migrant advocates and attorneys accused the United States of human rights violations in an official complaint detailing those parents’ and others’ separations from their children, as activists prepared to protest the Trump administration’s latest tactic aimed at curtailing immigration in 30 cities around the country on Friday.
“The people are demanding to know #WhereAreTheChildren?” Well, the children are not with their parents,” Ana Maria Anchila, co-executive director of the Center for Popular Democracy said in a statement about Friday’s protests.

Late Thursday afternoon, attorneys and advocacy groups filed an emergency request with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights on behalf of Melchor Santacruz, de la Cruz and three other parents separated from their children after crossing the border into the United States.

The petition asks for the commission’s intervention to “immediately stop a human rights and humanitarian crisis perpetrated by the U.S. government in the Texas-Mexico border.”

“In one particularly chilling example, immigration agents told two immigrant mothers that they were taking their daughters away to the bath — but they never returned, and the mothers have not seen them since,” the attorneys and advocates said in the petition.

The petitioners complained in the request that dozens of minor children have been taken from their parents in the last month. In addition, parents and attorneys haven’t been told where the children are or whether parents and children will be reunited.

The groups want the commission, part of the Organization of American States (OAS), to require the United States to reunite the five parents and their children immediately, to ensure that no parent is removed from the country without being allowed to decide whether to take their child with them and immediately stop prosecuting parents and separating them from their children.

The petitioners accused the U.S. government of violating internationally-recognized human rights and “well established Inter-American standards,” such as rights to family, to seek asylum and protection, and minimum due process.

Image: A girl stands with her mother during a Rally For Our Children event in San Antonio
A girl stands with her mother during a Rally For Our Children event to protest a new “zero-tolerance” immigration policy that has led to the separation of families Thursday in San Antonio.Eric Gay / AP

“Toying with the lives of people fleeing violence to send a message is not only cruel but also a violation of international human rights and conventions to which the United States is a party,” said Efren Olivares, racial and economic justice director for the Texas Civil Rights Project, one of the groups that filed the emergency request.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced May 7 the administration would separate children from parents as it stepped-up prosecutions of people who cross the border illegally. The administration has set a goal of 100 percent prosecutions of people who illegally cross the border, even if they are doing so to request asylum.

Agents told Melchor Santacruz, who arrived at the South Texas border from El Salvador around May 22, that asylum wasn’t available and that he couldn’t be with his son, according to the news release from advocates and attorneys.

In addition to being partially deaf, his teenage son suffers frequent nosebleeds, the news release said.

Border Patrol agents put de la Cruz’s three children — ages 11, 8 and 7 — in a cell that migrants call an “hielera,” which means ice chest because it is very cold. She was not asked why she had left her home country of Guatemala, which attorneys said was because of threats and violence. The agents told her she’d see her children again after her court hearing, but she hasn’t seen them yet, the news release said.

Also filing the petition were the University School of Law Immigration Clinic, the Women’s Refugee Commission and García & García law firm in Texas.

The Inter-American Human Rights Commission can adopt measures requiring its member states to take action in cases of human rights abuses. The United States is an OAS member state.

Some of the protests planned for Friday were to be held in front of Immigration and Customs Enforcement offices. One was to be staged at the Department of Justice in Washington.

Texas Congressman Joaquín Castro, a Democrat, spearheaded organization of a protest in San Antonio that was held Thursday night.

 “My grandmother came here as an orphan when she was brought here by relatives and she lost her parents before that,” Castro told NBC News in a telephone interview before the rally. “I believe we can enforce immigration policies and still treat people as human beings and with respect.””
By Editor June 1, 2018 09:24

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