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Highlights For Children — Yes, That Highlights — Is Blasting The Trump Administration’s Immigration Policies

This children’s magazine is calling for its readers to “speak out” against family separation.

Posted on June 26, 2019, at 4:50 p.m. ET

In a press release published Tuesday afternoon, kids magazine Highlights for Children has denounced the Trump administration’s immigration practices.

The magazine calls on its readers to “speak out” against the incidences of family separation that have been escalating along the border.

At Highlights, our core belief is that children are the world's most important people. In light of the reports of the living conditions of detained children & threats of further deportation & family separation, here is a statement from our CEO Kent Johnson. #KeepFamiliesTogether

Kent Johnson, CEO of the children’s publication, wrote that the magazine’s core belief is children are the “world’s most important people.”

Therefore, he said, the company is denouncing “the practice of separating immigrant children from their families and urge our government to cease this activity, which is unconscionable and causes irreparable damage to young lives.”

Johnson continues, clarifying that their press release was not a “political statement about immigration policy,” but rather one about “human decency, plain and simple.”

Although the statement involves taking a political side, a spokesperson for the magazine told BuzzFeed News they are trying to move away from “the political strife.”

“We don’t claim to be immigration policy experts,” the spokesperson said. “We are calling for unity around the goal of helping all children become their best selves. Our intent was not to be political but to raise awareness of how our policies and their implementation affect children.”

In his statement, Johnson called on readers to mobilize to action.

“We invite you — regardless of your political leanings — to join us in speaking out against family separation and to call for more humane treatment of immigrant children currently held in detention facilities,” he said. “Write, call, or email your government representatives.”

In a written response to Highlights’ press release, the United States Customs and Border Protection agency defended the occurrences of family separation along the border.

A spokesperson cited “legal requirements that CBP must follow that are in place to ensure the safety of the child” in an email to BuzzFeed News.

The federal government has reported that nearly 3,000 children have been separated under the implementation of Trump’s 2018 “zero tolerance” immigration policy, with thousands more who have yet to be accounted for, according to the New York Times.

The state of US detention facilities is progressively getting worse, with immigrant children living in unsanitary, crowded conditions that have been recently described as “inhumane” by lawyers who visited a Texas facility. Six immigrant children have died in US custody since September, the Los Angeles Times reported.

The response to Highlights’ stance has been mostly positive.

Actor Jamie Lee Curtis tweeted that the magazine stands to be “a voice of reason in this catastrophe at the border.”

I GREW UP with @highlights! Goofus and Gallant were my start of an understanding about moral, ethical ideas. That there was a choice. That this magazine, for children, is the voice of reason in this catastrophe at the border is fitting and important. #KeepFamiliesTogether https://t.co/akByWYVvkB

Twitter user @teaberryblue posted a depiction of one of Highlights’ longest-running comics, Goofus and Gallant, conveniently incorporating the topic at hand.

Twitter user @AuthorPatFrayne thanked the publication for its stance on the issue of family separation, expressing that “if more companies and more prominent people expressed similar opinions, this situation would not be tolerated, ever.”

@Highlights Thank you for standing up for these children and their families. If more companies and more prominent people expressed similar opinions, this situation would not be tolerated, ever.

Many Twitter users, such as @PSchletty and @StephTaitWrites, have said that they subscribed to the magazine following its statement Tuesday.

@Highlights I've always enjoyed @Highlights. Thank you for this statement and standing up for children...you just gained a subscriber. My 3-year-old will love getting High Five in the mail each month.

Dear @Highlights, I bought my 6yr old a subscription to your magazine this morning, specifically because of your brave stand today for the children at our border. Thank you for recognizing that this isn't about politics, this is about human decency. Sincerely, A New Subscriber


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