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20th-Jun-2018

US won`t be made a migrant camp

By AFP, Washington

President Donald Trump vowed on Monday that the United States would not become a "migrant camp" as he faced mounting pressure to stop families being separated as a deterrent to illegal immigration.
"The United States will not be a migrant camp, and it will not be a refugee holding facility," Trump said in remarks delivered at the White House. "It won't be."
"You look at what's happening in Europe, you look at what's happening in other places, we can't allow that to happen to the United States. Not on my watch."
About 2,000 children have been separated from their parents or guardians over six weeks, according to US authorities, since the Trump administration announced that all migrants illegally crossing the Mexican border would be arrested, regardless of whether the adults were seeking asylum.
Since children cannot be sent to the facilities where their parents are held, they are separated from them.
Trump has repeatedly said he wants family separations to end, but has refused to take responsibility for them-instead blaming Democrats, the minority party in Congress, whom he accuses of blocking legislation on the broader issue of illegal immigration.
He doubled down on that claim on Monday in a series of tweets, and again in remarks before a meeting of the National Space Council.
"If the Democrats would sit down instead of obstructing, we could have something done very quickly. Good for the children, good for the country, good for the world," he said.
"We have the worst immigration laws in the entire world."
"We're stuck with these horrible laws. They're horrible laws. What's happening is so sad, is so sad. And it can be taken care of quickly, beautifully," he said. "But just remember, a country without borders is not a country at all. We need borders, we need security. We need safety. We have to take care of our people."
New Department of Homeland Security data shows that 2,342 children have been separated from their parents or guardians since early May, when the administration said it would arrest and charge all migrants illegally crossing the Mexican border, regardless of whether they were seeking asylum.
Since children cannot be sent to the facilities where their parents are held, they are separated from them.
In heartbreaking audio released by transparency group ProPublica, several Central American children separated from their parents are heard desperately sobbing and wailing, some so hard they almost cannot breathe.
"Mommy! I want to go with dad," a young girl is heard crying out.
The United Nations slammed the practice as unconscionable, while rights group Amnesty International blasted a "spectacularly cruel" policy which has resulted in frightened children pried from their parent's arms and taken to overflowing detention centers.
"This is nothing short of torture," said Amnesty's Americas director Erika Guevara-Rosas.
US public opinion appears divided along partisan lines on the family separations, with two-thirds of all American voters opposed, but 55 percent of Republicans supporting the policy, according to a Quinnipiac University National Poll.
A Republican-led Congress is drafting legislative options to address the crisis, with possible votes later this week.
"Some in the administration have decided that this cruel policy increases their legislative leverage. This is wrong," said Republican Senator Ben Sasse, an occasional Trump critic. "Americans do not take children hostage, period."
A disgusted Republican Senator John McCain tweeted: "The administration's current family separation policy is an affront to the decency of the American people, and contrary to principles and values upon which our nation was founded. The administration has the power to rescind this policy. It should do so now."
And Democrats stepped up their opposition, as lawmakers conducted a second straight day of visits to processing and detention facilities, including a converted Walmart supermarket in Texas housing some 1,500 immigrant children.
Lawmakers spoke of children being held behind chain-link fencing inside the centers.
"I went into these facilities yesterday. They are cages," House Democrat Mark Pocan said Monday.
The Democratic fury was loud and unsparing.
"President Trump's family separation policy leaves a dark stain on our nation," House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said in a statement.
"Ripping vulnerable little children away from their parents is an utter atrocity that debases America's values and our legacy as a beacon of hope, opportunity and freedom."
Pelosi was among 14 House Democrats who visited Casa San Diego, a southern California facility housing 62 children, many of whom had fled gang violence from Central American nations like Honduras.
"President Trump, do the decent thing, pick up the phone, stop this unconscionable policy," congresswoman Judy Chu said.
Amid the outcry, independent investigative news organization Pro Publica published audio obtained from inside a US Customs and Border Protection facility in which children are heard wailing.
"I don't want them to stop my father," a distraught girl's voice can be heard, as others cried in the background. "I don't want them to deport him."