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NEW YORK Mayor Bill de Blasio joined other mayors on the Texas-Mexico border today to visit a childcare centre and denounce the Trump administration’s migration policy.
He had earlier expressed shock that at least 239 children had been sent to his city after being separated from their parents on the border.
Mr Blasio pointed out that President Donald Trump’s executive order putting an end to the policy of separating families at the border involved no mechanism to reunify those already separated.
He said he had gone to a reception centre for migrant children in Harlem and emerged to reveal that he was "shocked to learn" how many children separated from their parents had been sent to New York, explaining that this single Harlem centre had received 239 children without the knowledge of city authorities.
"How is it possible that none of us knew that there were 239 kids right here in our city?" he asked.
"How is the federal government holding back that information from the people of this city and holding back the help that these kids could need?"
"The mental health issues alone, they made clear to us, are very real, very painful," the mayor stressed.
President Trump was forced by a public outcry at home and abroad against his punitive split families policy to issue his executive order last night.
His explanation was that he “did not like the sight of families being separated.”
The president stressed, however, his administration’s commitment to its "zero tolerance policy" of criminally prosecuting anyone who crosses the border illegally.
He added that it was now up to Congress to resolve the issue, in combination with tougher immigration regulations.
Two Bills, both involving finance to build a border wall with Mexico but differing over whether to offer citizenship to so-called “dreamers” — migrants brought to the US as children — have been tabled.
Neither Bill is popular with Democrats and many Republicans are wavering or openly opposed.
Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, who has defended the split families policy, was confronted by angry chanting protesters during her meal in Washington on yesterday evening at a Mexican restaurant.
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