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Malala Calls Trump's Family Separation Policy 'Cruel' and 'Inhumane'

Why Global Citizens Should Care
Many immigrants arriving at the US-Mexico border are fleeing violence, extreme poverty, and persecution. They come in search of safety, opportunity, and asylum and the Trump administration’s policy of separating families at the border has been widely criticized as a human rights violation. You can take action to support the reunification of families here.

In recent weeks, many world leaders and influential figures have spoken out against the Trump administration’s policy of separating migrants families at the US-Mexico border. Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai added her voice to the chorus of dissenters on Wednesday.

“This is cruel, this is unfair, and this is inhumane,” she told Reuters. “I don’t know how anyone could do that.”

Take Action: Reunite All Separated Families and Support Foreign Aid to End the Root Cause of the Migration Crisis

The 21-year-old, who celebrates her birthday today, was visiting Rio de Janeiro to celebrate the expansion of her organization’s work into Latin America, starting with programs in Brazil. Malala has been a vocal champion for education, in particular for girls around the world, both in a personal capacity and through the Malala Fund.

“I hope that the children can be together with their parents,” she told Reuters.

More than 2,300 children were separated from their parents between April and May as a result of the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” policy on prosecuting illegal immigration. The majority of families trying to cross the border say they are fleeing gang and domestic violence rampant in Central America, many hope to be granted asylum in the US.

Read more: Federal Judge Orders Trump to Reunite Migrant Families Within 30 Days

In June, a federal judge ordered the government to reunite families, setting a deadline of 30 days for all, with a priority deadline to reunite children under the age of 5 with their parents by July 10, which the government missed this week.

As of Thursday morning, just 57 of the 104 children under the age of 5 had been returned to their families, according to officials. Authorities have deemed dozens of children ineligible to be returned to their parents because they had criminal records or had already been deported, The New York Times reported. The government must still reunite hundreds of children over the age of 5 with their parents within the next two weeks.