Mexico’s foreign minister objects to US proposal to split parents from children
By FRANCO ORDONEZ | McClatchy Washington Bureau (Tribune News Service) | Published: March 9, 2017
WASHINGTON — The Trump administration told Mexican officials that it is not committed to separating children from their parents after they’re caught crossing the U.S. border, but it’s “something they’re only thinking about.”
Mexican Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray met with Trump administration officials Thursday to express Mexico’s concerns about recent statements by Homeland Security Secretary John F. Kelly that the U.S. was considering separating apprehended mothers from their children.
Videgaray said Trump officials assured them that no final decision had been made.
“They said this is something they’re only thinking about,” Videgaray said. “This is not a decision.”
The proposal to split up parents and children was met with criticism by immigration advocates who argued that not only was the policy inhumane but would create unaccompanied minors who are entitled to special immigration treatment.
Under the proposal, the parents would be placed in detention while the children would be placed in the care of the government or sent to live with a relative.
“We have tremendous experience of dealing with unaccompanied minors,” Kelly told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer. “We turn them over to (Health and Human Services) and they do a very, very good job of putting them in foster care or linking them up with parents or family members in the United States.”
Under the Obama administration, mothers and children were detained together in one of three family detention centers, two in Texas and one in Pennsylvania. Most of the women who are held at the facilities have requested asylum, saying they were fleeing violence in Central America.
But the Obama administration also once considered separating mothers and children. Department of Justice lawyers under Obama threatened to split up mothers and children in 2015 if a federal judge forced them to dismantle the family detention centers.
Videgaray, speaking to reporters at the Mexican Embassy in Washington, said he met with Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and other members of the administration. In addition to the family detention issue, he said the discussions touched on Mexico’s rejection of a U.S. plan, spelled out in a Department of Homeland Security memorandum, to require migrants awaiting a court hearing to do so in Mexico no matter their nationality.
“The decisions of who enters Mexico are made by Mexico and only Mexico,” Videgaray said.
©2017 McClatchy Washington Bureau
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