Washington: Indian-American lawmakers and rights activists have slammed US President Donald Trump for his new executive order that calls for indefinite detention of families who illegally enter the country even though it stopped the practice of separation of children from their parents.
Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal said Trump's new executive order allows for indefinite detention of families which is absolutely unacceptable. She said immigrant internment camps are "cruel and inhumane".
"Moreover, lengthy or unnecessary detention of children has been ruled unlawful. The zero-tolerance policy itself must end. If the Trump administration wants to now detain families during a criminal court case, that is unprecedented and will likely be challenged in court. Family separation is wrong. So is throwing families in jail," Jayapal said.
Trump has ordered an end to the separation of migrant children from their parents on the US border reversing a tough policy under heavy pressure from his fellow Republicans, Democrats and the international community.
The executive order came after more than 2,300 children were separated from their parents and relatives after illegally crossing the Southern US border since May 5 and placed in tent camps and other facilities.
Trump's executive order comes as a response to the movement against the clear moral and human rights violation of separating children from their parents, she said.
"However, it is far from sufficient. The president could have ended family separation with a simple phone call, but his new order expands family detention and continues the criminal prosecution of asylum-seekers, Jayapal said.
Senator Kamala Harris from California said the executive order does not fix the crisis.
Indefinitely detaining children with their families in camps is inhumane and will not make us safe, she said.
"This executive order in no way deals with reuniting the 2,300 children who have been torn away from their parents and remain separated.
"When will they see their parents again? They must be reunited immediately," Harris said.
Family incarceration is not the answer to ending family separation and moving children from one cage to another is an outrage, said Indian American Neera Tanden, who heads Centre for American Progress, a top US think-tank close to the Democratic party.
"Instead of ending his zero tolerance policy of prosecuting even those exercising their legal right to apply for asylum, President Trump is using this executive order to double down on his lie that Congress or the courts are forcing his administration to separate families," she said.
"This is and has always been a policy choice of this administration. Rather than end it, Trump is taking advantage of the outrage over the inhumanity of his family separation policy to ramp up the mass incarceration of children and parents," Tanden said.
Congressman Ro Khanna said Trump's executive order will still result in humans being locked behind bars.
"I'm glad these children will no longer be torn from their parents' arms, but this is "solution" doesn't come close to fixing the problem. We demand more," he said.
Khanna said Trump's executive order is a very small nod towards decency by ending the barbaric practice of separating children from their parents. But he also said that it simply just replaces one problem with another by locking up families in detainment together.