An online petition created by Amnesty International Canada denouncing the White House policy of separating families of migrants will remain open and active according to its director general.
The petition calls on lawmakers to end the separate detention of parents and children. In some cases, the family members can be thousands of kilometres apart with little way of determining how to unite them.
“We encourage citizens in Canada to sign it so we can raise one big voice to denounce this absolutely horrific policy,” Geneviève Paul, director general of Amnistie Internationale Canada francophone, told reporters Wednesday morning.
President Trump reversed his unpopular policy and signed an executive order Wednesday afternoon calling for parents and children to be detained together as they sought asylum at U.S. border crossings with Mexico.
But the fact that this policy has been a staple of Trump’s “zero tolerance” stance on immigration has drawn indignation from leaders around the world, including Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
“What’s going on in the United States is wrong. I can’t imagine what the families living through this are enduring,” Trudeau told reporters inside the House of Commons.
Canada has also been criticized for separating asylum seeking parents and children.
But it’s not done in mass numbers or as overtly or as cruelly as in the U.S., according to one child psychiatrist.
Still the separation of family members can be lead to lasting effects on children.
“This affects the development of children’s brains. And can leave them with emotional and psychological problems for the long term,” Dr. Rachel Kronick from McGill University told Global News.
The psychiatrist says the prime minister is planning to issue a ministerial decree to end the practice, which she considers a good first step.