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New Zealand cannot tolerate US incarceration of children

The treatment of migrant children and families at the United States border is heart-breaking and intolerable. The Green Party calls on the New Zealand Government to condemn this egregious breach of human rights.

“The mass detention of children and separation from their families as a part of immigration policy is unacceptable,” says Golriz Ghahraman, Green Party human rights spokesperson.

“It is abhorrent to do it as a way to ‘deter’ their parents from seeking asylum or migrating to the United States, and New Zealand must condemn it.”

US immigration officials say 2,342 children were taken from their parents from 5 May to 9 June.[1] This includes toddlers and very young infants. The children have been incarcerated in facilities described as cages and warehouses.[2]

“No child should be put in a cage,” says Ms Ghahraman. “No government should use this as immigration policy.

“The Green Party is calling on the Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade to express New Zealand’s opposition to this practice in the strongest possible terms to the United States Ambassador.

“We cannot stand by and let this happen. We cannot let the inflammatory rhetoric being used by the US government go unremarked. We have to learn the lessons of history and see what’s happening in front of us and say it is wrong.

“New Zealanders take huge pride in our country’s record of standing up for what’s right on the international stage. We must do that now, and use every avenue we can to push the United States to change their policy.” 

Members of the public have organised vigils to be held outside the US embassy and consulate in Wellington and Auckland this Friday at 5pm.


[1] Radio NZ: Trump defends separating immigrant families

[2] The Guardian: Separation at the border: children wait in cages at south Texas warehouse