Apple chief Tim Cook condemns ‘inhumane’ US detention of children

Trump administration policy labelled ‘inhumane’ and ‘heartbreaking’

Apple chief executive Tim Cook has criticised the Trump administration for the detention of children separated from their parents at the border between US and Mexico, calling it "inhumane" and "heartbreaking".

Almost 2,000 children were separated from their parents at the border between mid-April and the end of May, with US president Donald Trump defending the controversial policy.

Speaking in Dublin on Tuesday, Mr Cook described the situation as “inhumane” and said Apple would be working with people in the US government to try to be a “constructive voice” on the issue.

"It's heartbreaking to see the images and hear the sounds of the kids. Kids are the most vulnerable people in any society. I think that what's happening is inhumane, it needs to stop," Mr Cook told The Irish Times.


We’ve always felt everyone should be treated with dignity and respect. In this case, that’s not happening.”


The Apple chief executive said he had previously spoken with Mr Trump on a number of issues.

“I have spoken with him several times on several issues, and I have found him to listen,” he said. “I haven’t found that he will agree on all things.”

Among the issues Mr Cook has disagreed with the president on are the US decision to pull out of the Paris climate accord, and the ongoing issue of the status of so-called Dreamers, who are undocumented people living in the US.

He said Apple would would take a constructive approach to try to deal with the current situation.

“I’m personally a big believer in the way to be a good citizen is to participate, is to try to advocate your point of view, not to just sit on the sideline and yell or complain,” he said.

“That will be the approach we will take here. This one in particular is just heartbreaking and tragic.”

As part of his visit to Ireland, the Apple chief met with Taoiseach Leo Varadkar on Monday evening and was planning to travel to Cork on Tuesday afternoon to meet with staff there. Apple employs around 6,000 people in Ireland, with the majority at the Cork facility.

Ciara O'Brien

Ciara O'Brien

Ciara O'Brien is an Irish Times business and technology journalist