International

Honduras identifies 313 children separated from families in US

A total of 313 Honduran children separated from their parents as a result of the United States' "zero tolerance" immigration police have been identified by Honduran consular staff, an official said on Thursday.

Women and their children, many fleeing poverty and violence in Honduras, Guatamala and El Salvador, are seen at a bus station following release from Customs and Border Protection in McAllen, Texas, on June 22, 2018
Women and their children, many fleeing poverty and violence in Honduras, Guatamala and El Salvador, are seen at a bus station following release from Customs and Border Protection in McAllen, Texas, on June 22, 2018 (GETTY/AFP)

A total of 313 Honduran children separated from their parents as a result of the United States' "zero tolerance" immigration police have been identified by Honduran consular staff, an official said on Thursday.

Liza Medrano, Honduras' director of migrant protection, told a news conference that the country's consular officials in the United States visited shelters in search of children after President Donald Trump's administration ordered the reunification of separated families.

"We have 313 children who were separated and who have been identified by our consular network during the different interviews and shelter visits that they have been able to do," Medrano said.

Medrano said that the families should be reunited by July 26, with authorities working to gather complete information on the identified children.

She added that some parents had opted to leave their children in the United States with another guardian while they returned to Honduras, but said figures on this were still being updated.

The US government came under fierce international criticism for forcibly separating thousands of families, most of them from Central America and seeking asylum due to violence in their home countries.

The backlash led Trump to suspend the separations, which were ordered as part of the administration's effort to deter migrants from illegally crossing the Mexican border.