President Donald Trump's administration on Friday released a report criticizing the practice of detaining children and separating them from their parents. It remains unclear whether Ivanka Trump supports Donald Trump's "zero-tolerance" policy on immigration. But she was one of the members of Trump's administration to unveil the report by the U.S. Department of State at an event on June 29.
The criticism of detaining children came via a 68-page report focused on human trafficking occurring globally and on modern slavery.
There to help unveil the report was Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Ivanka Trump, though she did not speak at the event, CBS reports. She did give remarks on human trafficking at the UN in September 2017, though, saying that it was a "major priority" for her father's administration.
Though it does not appear to explicitly mention or address children detained in the U.S. by immigration officials, the report includes a section on separating children from their families. It reads, in part:
The international community agrees that a family caregiving setting, or an alternative solution that is appropriate and culturally sensitive, is the most conducive environment for the growth, well-being, and safety of children. Removal of a child from the family should only be considered as a temporary, last resort.
"This year's report focuses on effective ways local communities can address human trafficking proactively and on how national governments can support and empower them," read a statement by Pompeo in the report.
In early April, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the zero-tolerance policy that the Trump administration would implement, whereby anybody who crossed the U.S. border illegally would be subject to federal prosecution. Due to a complex web of laws and regulations around children, the policy resulted in separating parents from their children when detained by U.S. immigration officials. As of early June, DHS officials had reported that some 2,300 children had been detained separately of their parents. After mounting public condemnation around the globe, Trump on June 20 issued an executive order to temporarily discontinue the practice of separating families, opting instead to keep families detained as a unit.
Citing the psychological and emotional impacts, the report goes on to say:
Studies have found that both private and government- run residential institutions for children, or places such as orphanages and psychiatric wards that do not offer a family-based setting, cannot replicate the emotional companionship and attention found in family environments that are prerequisites to healthy cognitive development. Yet, about eight million children worldwide live in these facilities, even though an estimated 80 to 90 percent of them have at least one living parent. ... Even at their best, residential institutions are unable to meet a child’s need for emotional support that is typically received from family members or consistent caretakers with whom the child can develop an attachment.
As a result, the report states, children are especially vulnerable and at higher risk of becoming targets of human trafficking.
Per the Los Angeles Times, the report was compiled prior to the administration's zero-tolerance policy went into effect in the spring. Still, the similarity to the current situation on U.S. soil wasn't lost on people. "Ivanka Trump will join Sec of State Mike Pompeo tomorrow to release the annual U.S. report on human trafficking in other countries," tweeted Politico's Nahal Toosi on Thursday. "It could get awkward given that the U.S. is separating children from their parents and locking them up in cages right now."
"The United States remains a committed leader in combating this global threat," Pompeo wrote in his statement for the report. "President Trump has made ending human trafficking a top priority for the Administration and dedicated the government’s full resources to fighting this crime."