Washington, June 16 (IANS) Almost 2,000 migrant children were separated from their families at the US border over six weeks, officials say.
Following a Trump administration crackdown on illegal border crossings from Mexico, adults are being detained, meaning the children with them are removed from their care, BBC reported on Saturday.
The issue is causing a growing political storm in the US.
On Thursday Attorney General Jeff Sessions cited the Bible to defend the “zero tolerance” approach.
It means that those entering the US irregularly are criminally prosecuted, a change to a long-standing policy of charging most of those crossing for the first time with a misdemeanour offence.
As the adults are being charged with a crime and detained, the children that travel with them are being separated and classed as unaccompanied minors.
Figures from the US Department of Homeland Security show that 1,995 children were separated from 1,940 adults who are being held between April 19 and May 31.
No information was given on the age of the separated children.
The children are passed into the care of the US Department of Health and Human Services. They are transferred to government detention facilities or foster care while officials try to resolve their case.
The United Nations has called on the US to immediately halt the separations.
Sessions said having children would not shield border-crossing migrants from prosecution.
The attorney general quoted a verse from St Paul’s Letter to the Romans on obeying the laws of government.