Peters wel­comes Trump change

Marlborough Express - - FRONT PAGE -

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.

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