Highlights Magazine Condemns Trump Administration Over 'Unconscionable' Treatment of Migrant Children

Filled with colorful illustrations, children's stories and puzzles, kids' magazine Highlights typically targets an audience aged six to 12, but on Tuesday, the publication had a message for a significantly older audience: President Donald Trump and his administration.

In a scathing statement, the magazine's CEO, Kent Johnson, called on the government to "cease" its "unconscionable" treatment of detained migrant children, which he said "causes irreparable damage to young lives."

"As a company that helps children become their best selves—curious, creative, caring, and confident—we want kids to understand the importance of having moral courage," Johnson wrote. "Moral courage means standing up for what we believe is right, honest, and ethical—even when it is hard."

"Our company's core belief, stated each month in the Highlights magazine, is that 'Children are the world's most important people," Johnson continued. "This is a belief about ALL children."

"With this core belief in our minds and hearts, we denounce the practice of separating immigrant children from their families and urge the government to cease this activity, which is unconscionable and causes irreparable damage to young lives," the Highlights CEO said.

Johnson's statement comes amid fresh data from the American Civil Liberties Union suggesting that since the Trump administration reversed its widely—condemned family separation policy, another 700 children have been separated from their parents and put into foster care or camps, in some cases without basic sanitary necessities, such as toothbrushes, diapers and soap.

The ACLU's findings come 12 months after the Trump administration reversed the controversial policy, which saw more than 2,800 migrant children separated from their parents.

The statement from Highlights' leadership also comes following reports detailing the desperate conditions at some of the detention facilities housing migrant children, with lawyers finding, at one Texas facility, children being forced to care for each other, while also being provided inadequate access to food, water and sanitation.

Johnson emphasized that the magazine's message is "not a political statement about immigration policy."

"This is a statement about human decency, plain and simple. This is a plea for recognition that these are not simply the children of strangers for whom others are accountable. This is an appeal to elevate the inalienable right of all children to feel safe and to have the opportunity to become their best selves."

Johnson asked that people in the U.S., regardless of their political leanings, join Highlights in speaking out against family separation and calling for more humane treatment of migrant children currently being held in U.S. detention facilities. "Write, call or email your government representatives," he said.

"Let our children draw strength and inspiration from our collective display of moral courage. They are watching."

migrant children protest
Protesters from Texas and California rally in El Paso, Texas against the continued separation of migrant children from their families, as well as against the conditions migrant children are being held in at U.S. detention facilities on June 25, 2019. Christ Chavez
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