08:35 GMT +317 October 2019
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    Haitian migrants seeking asylum in the United States, queue at El Chaparral border crossing in the hope of getting an appointment with US migration authorities, in the Mexican border city of Tijuana, in Baja California, on October 7, 2016

    Children Cry as Trudeau Slams US 'Playing Politics' Over Immigration Policy

    © AFP 2019 / Guillermo Arias
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    The Trump administration has been in hot water since it started imposing a "zero tolerance" policy towards illegal migrants, separating many of them from their children. The US president has shifted responsibility for the situation onto the Democrats in Congress, claiming that they can prevent it by closing legislative "loopholes".

    Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has joined the ranks of those who harshly criticize Donald Trump's policy towards illegal migrants crossing the US border with their children. He also promised not to "play politics" over immigration policy, as Canada continues to "support human rights around the world."

    At the same time, he didn't specify what steps his country would undertake to change the situation in the US where, according to the latest reports, some 2,000 children have been separated from their parents, who tried to illegally cross the US border but were caught. An audio recording from one of the juvenile detention centers has recently surfaced on the internet, revealing several kids crying and calling for their parents.

    At the same time, the Department of Homeland Security spokeswoman Kirstjen Nielsen stated that it is not the "zero tolerance" policy that is to blame for the current situation, but Congress, which has failed to adopt legislation closing the "loopholes."

    According to her, the White House is merely following the law, which prescribes separating a child from its parents when it's in danger, when there is no evidence of parenthood (e.g. official document confirming that the adults accompanying the child are indeed its parents), or in cases where the parents have broken the law, for example by illegally crossing the border. She also assured that such treatment of migrants is not used in order to discourage the latter from crossing the US border.

    "The children are not being used as a pawn, we are trying to protect the children," she said.

    The US policy towards children of immigrants has faced severe backlash on Twitter.

    Whereas some users found the White House's arguments convincing.

    US President Donald Trump initiated the so-called "zero tolerance" policy in April 2018. According to the White House, it has merely led to the Department of Homeland Security enforcing laws "by the book" and urged Congress to reform the US asylum-seeking system. At present, all irregular and undocumented migrants are sent to federal prosecution, while their children are taken from them. Over the course of April and May, some 2,000 children were taken away, with around 100 of them being under 4-years-old.

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