Mercy Corps Calls for Immediate End to Separation of Children and Families at U.S. Border

Statement from Neal Keny-Guyer, Chief Executive Officer

PORTLAND, Ore. — The global organization Mercy Corps has watched with increasing alarm as children are separated from their parents as they cross the U.S. border.

Mercy Corps works with vulnerable families and children around the globe as they flee violence and conflict. While it is rare for us to comment on U.S. domestic politics, our deep experience working with children, and in particular adolescents, who have lived through trauma compels us to speak. Around the world, we have witnessed the lasting harm that separating children from their families can cause, for both the children and their parents.

People on all sides of the political spectrum may respectfully disagree on how best to approach issues of immigration, refugees and asylum-seekers; however, there is no reasonable defense of a “zero-tolerance” policy that harms innocent children.

We urge the Trump administration to end this shameful practice immediately. At a time when there are more people displaced from their homes than at any point since WWII, it is imperative that governments commit to basic principles of decency in how vulnerable people and families who are fleeing violence are treated. Foremost among those principles is a commitment to protecting children.


Today our staff of about 5,000 team members is reaching nearly 28 million people in more than 40 countries around the world. Mercy Corps has youth projects in countries almost exclusively in transition: places recovering from or still coping with natural disasters, economic crises and violent conflict. We believe that if young people learn relevant knowledge and skills, and engage socially, peacefully and economically, then they will be able to lead secure and productive lives. There are more than 1.8 billion young people (age 10-24) globally, the largest population of youth in human history. In many of the places where we work, young people represent more than half the population.