The United Nations had already called the separations of immigrant children from their parents at the US border "arbitrary and unlawful," and now the intergovernmental group is labeling them something else: possible torture. Per the Independent, the UN's human rights arm issued a statement Friday noting that the executive order President Trump signed Wednesday to address the issue of the separations didn't go far enough, notably in reuniting children who've already been pulled away from their parents. "We call on the Government of the US to release these children from immigration detention and to reunite them with their families based on the best interests of the child, and the rights of the child to liberty and family unity," the experts cited in the statement say.
The best interests of the child, those experts add, aren't being served by separating them from their parents, especially kids who have special needs or are still breastfeeding. "Detention of children is punitive, severely hampers their development, and in some cases may amount to torture," the experts say. "Children are being used as a deterrent to irregular migration, which is unacceptable." Other concerns include that asylum seekers may not be getting a fair shake in applying for help, and that messy red tape means it may be difficult, if not impossible, to reunite all the separated families. The UN experts also aren't on board with keeping families together but detained. "While family unity needs to be preserved at all costs, it cannot be done at the expense of detaining entire families with children," the experts note. "Family-based alternatives to deprivation of liberty must be adopted urgently." (Read more border separations stories.)