This article focuses on the Bzero-tolerance^ policy adopted in spring, 2018, in the USA. This immigration policy criminalized the undocumented or illegal entry of child migrants and their families on the southwestern U.S. border. Those affected were mostly from Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras. The implementation of this policy resulted in the forced separation of children from their families and the violation of human rights of those detained in authorized facilities and foster care. The policy coincides with limited U.S. government case management of unaccompanied and accompanied minors. We examine critical issues to include international conventions regarding child rights and the best interest of the child that provide globally recognized guidance to prevent separations of children from their parents. These discriminating policies and unjust practices have already triggered institutional condemnations and legal complaints at the national and international levels. Informed by our own studies of forced migration and child abduction into adoption from two of the mentioned Central American countries, we suggest how social workers, as human rights defenders and gatekeepers of child welfare practices, may respond to these unjust policies and practices. This article is part 1 of two papers on the subject; the second article is focused on the resulting trauma of those affected.
Mónico, C., Rotabi, K. S. & Lee, J. (2019). Forced child-family separations in the southwestern U.S. border under the "zero tolerance" policy: Preventing human rights violations and child abduction into adoption (part 1). Journal of Human Rights and Social Work.