Peters welcomes Trump change
Acting Prime Minister Winston Peters has welcomed a change in United States migration policy to stop children being separated from their parents at the border.
Peters, who is also New Zealand’s foreign affairs minister, was reluctant to openly condemn the policy earlier this week, though he did say ‘‘every Cabinet minister’’ was concerned.
But yesterday, after the US announced that migrant families would be incarcerated together, instead of separately, Peters revealed New Zealand had raised those concerns with the American Embassy in Wellington this week.
‘‘The coalition Government conveyed its concerns to the US Embassy. Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade officials phoned embassy officials to relay the New Zealand Government’s views,’’ said Peters.
‘‘It appears the US president has heeded the outcry on this matter by signing of a new executive order which allows ‘family unity’.
‘‘Separating families at the southern border was concerning to many New Zealanders. New Zealand Cabinet ministers and MPS were concerned as well,’’ he added.
‘‘The practice of separating children from their parents and detaining them was simply not a humanitarian approach and any reversal of that practice should be welcomed.’’
The change does not end the ‘‘zero-tolerance’’ approach taken by US border officials. But it does allow families attempting to cross any American border to be detained indefinitely together – instead of being split up.
US President Donald Trump’s policy had resulted in nearly 2000 children being taken from their parents at the border – some of being kept in chain-link cages.
Haunting audio of children crying for their parents was briefly played by a reporter during a White House press briefing earlier this week as backlash to the policy mounted.