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Media 062518 SRE

Monday, June 25, 2018

The Mexican Government Condemns U.S. Policy of Separating Migrant Families

Mexican Ministry of Foreign Affairs

On behalf of the Mexican government, Foreign Secretary Luis Videgaray expressed today [June 19] the most categorical and energetic condemnation of the U.S. government policy of separating migrant families.

The Foreign Secretary called it a cruel and inhumane action that clearly violates migrants' human rights and puts children, some with disabilities, in a vulnerable situation.

"The Mexican government, and I want to make this quite clear, does not encourage illegal migration. We fully respect the sovereignty and rule of law of the United States. However, out of conviction and constitutional obligation, we cannot remain indifferent to an inhumane and cruel situation such as the separation of families at the border. We call on the United States government, at the highest level, to reconsider this policy and give priority to the well-being and rights of these boys and girls, regardless of their nationality and immigration status," said the Foreign Secretary.

Foreign Secretary Videgaray said that, according to data from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, of the 1,995 migrant children who have been separated from their families after crossing the border from April up to the present, fewer than 1% of the cases involve Mexican children.

"This figure is consistent with the cases found by our consular network showing that a total of 21 Mexican children have been separated from their parents. Of these, most have already been repatriated to Mexico and only seven remain in shelters," he added.

He explained that most of the children who have been separated from their families come from Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras.

The Foreign Secretary said he had already spoken with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen to express the Mexican government's repudiation of the policy of separating migrant families at the border.

He added that the Mexican embassy in Washington, D.C. delivered a note to the U.S. government to officially express its condemnation.

The Foreign Secretary further said that, through the Foreign Ministry and its consular network in the United States, the Mexican government has acted immediately to provide protection and assistance to our fellow countrymen there ever since the so-called "zero-tolerance" policy was announced by the U.S. government.

Speaking specifically about the children separated from their parents, the Foreign Secretary said that "in all cases, the Mexican government's consulates have visited the facilities, interviewed the children, identified and contacted their families and, in most cases, already repatriated them."

Secretary Videgaray urged U.S. authorities to immediately allow and facilitate communication between the children and their parents, in order to mitigate the severe impact of the situation.

In addition, he called on the international community and multilateral organizations to issue clear statements and not to remain indifferent to the situation, which he said is unacceptable.

"I want to inform you that, through our Missions to the United Nations in New York and in Geneva, and to the Organization of American States in Washington D.C., we have denounced the separation of families to all the organs of the U.N. Human Rights System and the Inter-American Human Rights System. Notably, we have issued formal communications with the U.N. Secretary-General and the High Commissioner for Human Rights, and with the Human Rights Council treaty and special procedures bodies involved in issues such as migration and children," he said.

He went on to say that the Mexican government is in close communication with authorities in Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, and that they have agreed to hold a special meeting on Friday, June 22 to analyze the events on the Mexico-U.S. border.

He also announced that Mexico will continue to work closely with civil society organizations that defend human rights and migrants in the United States, and that they will meet with Mexican authorities in the near future.  The Secretary reiterated the instructions given to Mexico's consular network in the United States: to be in ongoing contact with the detention centers and immigration and health agencies involved in implementing the policy in order to find and assist in all cases in which Mexican citizens are involved.

Lastly, he announced that Mexico will use its institutional capabilities and provide all possible assistance to the governments of Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador with the goal of taking joint actions and establishing common positions in the multilateral organizations in order to provide the greatest possible support to our Central American neighbors, even though Mexican children are not involved.

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Press release, June 19, 2018, Mexican Ministry of Foreign Affairs (SRE), Mexico City; translation SRE

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