VATICAN CITY – The Vatican and Mexico are lamenting how children "are suffering the most" from forced migration, as the Trump administration comes under increasing criticism for its policy of separating children from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border.
The Vatican on Monday released the conclusions of the second Vatican-Mexico conference on international migration, held last week at the Vatican. The statement made no explicit reference to the separation policy, though it stressed the need to "insist on the centrality of the human person in every political act ... reaffirming the inviolability of human rights and the dignity of every human being on the move."
"Children are the ones who are suffering the most from forced migration. We must respond effectively to the challenges created by these flows, balancing the principles of solidarity, subsidiarity and co-responsibility," the statement said.
Nearly 2,000 children were separated from their families over a six-week period in April and May after Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced a new "zero-tolerance" policy that refers all cases of illegal entry for criminal prosecution. U.S. protocol prohibits detaining children with their parents because the children are not charged with a crime and the parents are.
The head of the U.S. conference of Catholic bishops' committee on migration has condemned the policy as "immoral," and the issue dominated the U.S. bishops' recent assembly in Florida.
The Vatican-Mexico statement called for a global governance body for migration "to ensure a safe, ordered and regular migration that helps all those involved."