The government of El Salvador accused the Trump administration Monday of violating its citizens’ human rights with the new zero tolerance border policy, saying children will suffer serious physical and mental harm by being separated from parents.
In a strongly worded statement released by the Salvadoran embassy, the government said the U.S. must respect the rights of parents regardless of whether they broke American laws, and said parents no matter what their status must have a say in their children’s treatment.
The protest was striking for a country that has among the highest murder rates in the world, and that over the last two years saw about 80,000 unaccompanied children and people traveling as families caught on the U.S. border fleeing their rotten conditions back home.
El Salvador joins with Democrats and Republicans in Washington, with religious groups across the country, and with immigrant-rights activists in condemning the zero tolerance policy, which has increased the number of people being charged with a crime for jumping the border.
Those charged are sent to jail for a few days where they usually enter plea agreements that sentence them to time served — a few days, perhaps. But while they’re in jail their children are separated, since there are no family jails.
El Salvador has clashed with the Trump administration repeatedly, including demanding the U.S. keep some 200,000 of its citizens who have been here under special protected status since a 2001 earthquake.
The country derives $4.6 billion of its economy, or about 17 percent of its Gross Domestic Product, from remittances sent back home from Salvadorans working outside the country. The bulk of that comes from the U.S.