UPDATE: Donald Trump said on Wednesday he would sign an executive order to solve the problem of immigrant families being separated at the U.S. southern border.
After two days of demands by critics that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau breaks his silence and condemn U.S. President Donald Trump’s policy of separating children from migrant families and detaining them in cages, he has finally done so.
In a scrum with reporters before heading into the last caucus meeting of the parliamentary session, Trudeau joined the growing chorus of international leaders who are speaking out against the administration’s actions.
“What’s going on in the United States is wrong,” said Trudeau.
WATCH: Trudeau says separation of families in U.S. is ‘wrong’, won’t suspend Safe Third Country agreement
“I can’t imagine what the families living through this are enduring. Obviously, this is not the way we do things in Canada.”
On Monday, Trudeau said those calling on him to condemn the detention and separation of children from their families just wanted to “play politics.”
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As well, Canada does not ban the detention of children or separation from their families during the immigration process.
From April to December 2017, a total of 155 minors were detained in facilities by the Canada Border Services Agency but the agency has refused to say how many of them were separated from their families and detained on their own.
Those numbers, which represent only the first three-quarters of the fiscal 2017 year, exceed the total for the previous year.
The government directive ordering all efforts be made to avoid detaining children did not come until November 2017 following public outcry.
WATCH BELOW: NDP calls on Trudeau to speak out against controversial U.S. border law
His comments come hours after U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May condemned the detention of thousands of children from families seeking asylum in a similar comment in which she also said she would not withdraw the invitation for Trump to visit in July.
“The pictures of children being held in what appear to be cages are deeply disturbing,” May said. “This is wrong. This is not something we agree with. This is not the U.K.’s approach.”
WATCH BELOW: Trump stands firm on controversial border policy: ‘You have to take the children away’
A spokesperson for the French government, Benjamin Griveaux, also issued a condemnation earlier this week.
Griveaux said in light of the detentions, the historic allies of the United States and France “do not share the same model of civilization.”
“Clearly, we don’t share certain values,” he said.
The Trump administration’s hard line on immigration has sparked calls within Canada for the government to suspend the Safe Third Country Agreement.
The agreement sets out the requirement for asylum seekers to make their application in the first country they arrive in, whether that be Canada or the United States.
It is based on the assumption that the immigration systems in both countries are equally fair and robust in their consideration of such claims.
But there are growing arguments from human rights advocates as well as critics of the Canadian government that that assumption no longer holds.
Former Conservative immigration minister Chris Alexander on Tuesday said the time has come to suspend the agreement.
Jenny Kwan, the NDP immigration critic, has also hammered the government over the last two days to do so.
She called the administration’s actions “cruel and unusual,” and not consistent with the foundations of the agreement.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, as well as former first lady Laura Bush, Pope Francis and top faith leaders within the United States, have also blasted the Trump administration for its actions, which it bills as part of a “zero-tolerance” approach to migration along its southern border.
The majority of families in question have been seeking asylum in the United States from Central American gang violence.
Seeking asylum is not illegal.
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