The UN humans rights chief issued his strongest denunciation yet regarding the separation of immigrant children from their parents at the US border and demanded that it stop immediately, reports the New York Times. "The thought that any state would seek to deter parents by inflicting such abuse on children is unconscionable," said Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein, the UN high commissioner for human rights. He also made reference to the American Academy of Pediatrics' characterization of the issue as "government-sanctioned child abuse." Other developments on the issue:
- No such policy: Homeland Security chief Kirstjen Nielsen tweeted Sunday, "We do not have a policy of separating families at the border. Period." She elaborated: "For those seeking asylum at ports of entry, we have continued the policy from previous Administrations and will only separate if the child is in danger, there is no custodial relationship between 'family' members, or if the adult has broken a law."
- New defiance: It's that last "broken a law" part that has led to the separations. Under the administration's new zero-tolerance policy, the feds are prosecuting all adults caught illegally crossing the border, and thus any kids with them are being taken away. "Illegal actions have and must have consequences," Nielsen told the National Sheriffs' Association Monday, per ABC News. "We are enforcing the laws passed by Congress," she said, adding that agents shouldn't apologize for doing their jobs, reports the AP.