Separation of families at US border


Sir, – As a coalition of 24 organisations we condemn the US policy of separating children from their parents. Notwithstanding President Donald Trump’s executive order to end the policy, a very dangerous precedent has been set.

While family separation might be at an end, a continuing “zero tolerance” policy approach to irregular border crossings will see the continued detention of children with their families, which is a serious human rights concern. It also remains worryingly unclear what will happen to the more than 2,300 children and their parents who have been separated.

Former US attorney general Robert Kennedy, articulating core American values in 1968, spoke about a “ripple of hope” that is sent out into the world when we “stand up for an ideal, or act to improve the lot of others, or strike out against injustice”.

Conversely, American policies also have the potential to cause a ripple effect tempting other countries to move towards more draconian procedures against people seeking a better life. Not ripples of hope, but of pain, suffering and injustice.

Passivity in the face of anti-migration rhetoric and policies that dehumanise people has dangerous consequences. It is vital that, as Europeans, we fight against this worrying trend and ensure the protection of families on our shores and across the globe.

In the face of a modern America which is devaluing its own human rights principles, it is vital that we reinforce our own.

As a start we should expand access in relation to our own family reunification laws, as called for by the Human Rights and Equality Commission this week, so families can be reunited in Ireland. – Yours, etc,



Irish Refugee

and Migrant Coalition,

Killarney Street,

Dublin 1.