Mexican Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray said on Thursday the main reason for his visit to Washington was to express concern over the proposal that migrant mothers could be separated from children at the US border.
Videgaray, after meeting with Senior Advisor to US President Donald Trump Jared Kushner, told reporters at the Mexican embassy in DC that he opposes any plan to separate families as a matter of fundamental human rights.
Women and children crossing together illegally into the United States could be separated by US authorities under a proposal being considered by the Department of Homeland Security, according to three US government officials. Part of the reason for the proposal is to deter mothers from migrating to the United States with their children, said the officials, who have been briefed on the proposal.
"The motive behind our meetings today in Washington was a very specific one; it was to express to the US government our grave concern to the possible policy announced by the US government to separate Mexican families at their arrival (to the U.S.-Mexico border)," Videgaray said. "It's a concern that we've already expressed in the past to the US Department of Homeland Security, and that today, in a very direct way, we've expressed to the White House," he said.
"We believe that separating families upon their arrival (to the US) – independent of the reasons that motivated a policy of this nature – represents an attack on integrity of the fundamental unity of society, which is the family," Videgaray added.
He also reiterated that Mexico alone will decide which deportees it will accept. The Trump administration unveiled plans in late February to consider almost all illegal immigrants subject to deportation. It considered sending many of them to Mexico if they entered the United States from there, regardless of nationality.
Peru slams plan to separate families
Peruvian President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski criticised the proposal to separate women and children crossing illegally into the US.
Speaking to foreign media in Lima on Thursday, Kuczynski said he told Trump in a White House meeting in February that he opposed the proposed wall along the US-Mexico border.
"I don't want to provoke controversy but for me separating families is something that shouldn't be happening in the 21st century, and the wall either," Kuczynski said in Spanish. "I told the US president that."
Kuczynski, a former US citizen and an ardent defender of open economies, has been one of the few leaders of Washington's traditional allies in Latin America to openly oppose Trump's stance on immigration and trade.
Kuczynski previously compared Trump's proposed border wall to the Berlin Wall and joked he would sever ties with the US if Trump, a Republican, won last year's election.