U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May condemned President Donald Trump’s policy of separating parents from their children at the U.S. border Wednesday but conveniently failed to mention that her administration has followed similar practices in the past with asylum seekers.
“On what we have seen in the United States, pictures of children being held in what appear to be cages are deeply disturbing,” May said. “I clearly, wholly and unequivocally said it is wrong,” she added.
May went as far as proclaiming that the White House’s policies are “not the United Kingdom’s approach.”
Yet many U.K. civil right activists would disagree with May’s characterization.
Asylum and immigration issues –particularly in the post-World War II era — are no strangers to U.K. politics. (RELATED: Here Are Horrifying Photos Of Obama’s Illegal Alien Facilities The Media Refuses To Show You)
The Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants’ (JWCI) Divided Families Campaign has accused various Conservative governments — and May in particular in her previous role as home secretary — of making “family reunification entitlements a privilege for only the wealthy.”
The Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants (JWCI) is a London-based charity dedicated to pursuing the interests of various immigrant groups in the U.K. One of the JCWI’s primary issues revolves around the treatment of undocumented immigrants and asylum seekers.
Other U.K. organizations, like Bail for Immigration Detainees, provide direct legal aid to families “who had been torn apart by immigration detention.” The charity says it helped “reunited 110 families” in 2015 that were separated due to the British immigration policies.
Bail for Immigration Detainees (BID) has expressed similar concerns by U.S. child wellness experts, saying “a parent’s detention is emotionally devastating. Many of the children we work with have lost weight, suffer from nightmares and insomnia,” on a crowdfunding page in 2016.
“No child should have to live through the trauma of being forcibly separated from their parent by the government,” the group said.
According to the U.K. Human Rights Blog, a project run by the British criminal advocacy group 1 Crown Office Row, 32,446 immigrants were detained by the British government in 2015.
“But what many people don’t know is that many of those detained were ordinary people, many of whom had lived in the UK for decades and, until they were detained had been quietly going about their everyday lives with their partners and children,” the blog said.
“Parents are removed without warning from the heart of the family,” it added.
Groups like BID cite a number of examples of the U.K. separating parents from their children, with some illegal immigrants detained from six months to even two years.
While The Daily Caller News Foundation could not find any examples of U.K. children being placed in cage-like detention facilities, the impact of May’s policies are nearly identical: Children are removed from their parents and undergo the same psychological trauma that many experts say can be harmful in the long run.
May has openly championed harsh treatment for undocumented border crossings in her own country for years.
As home secretary in 2012 she said her goal was “to create, here in Britain, a really hostile environment for illegal immigrants.” Such policies, in May’s own words, privileged the deportation of “foreign criminals” over the “right to family life.”
Standards for remaining with one’s family in the UK seem even more stringent that those in the U.S. As home secretary, May called on immigrant families to “have a genuine attachment to the U.K., be able to speak English, and integrate into our society.”
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