State Department issues warning against separating families

The State Department on Thursday issued a warning against separating families in a new human trafficking report amid the controversy surrounding migrant families at the U.S. southern border. 

"Children in institutional care, including government-run facilities, can be easy targets for traffickers. Even at their best, residential institutions are unable to meet a child’s need for emotional support that is typically received from family members or consistent caretakers with whom the child can develop an attachment," the department said in the report. 

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"Children are especially vulnerable when traffickers recognize and take advantage of this need for emotional bonding stemming from the absence of stable parental figures," the report continued. 

"In addition, the rigid schedules and social isolation of residential institutions offer traffickers a tactical advantage, as they can coerce children to leave and find ways to exploit them."

Thousands of migrant children have been separated from their parents at the southern border in recent months after the Trump administration enforced the policy of calling for the prosecution of all immigrants who cross the U.S.-Mexico border illegally. 

The public outrage over the practice resulted in President TrumpDonald John TrumpHannity urges Trump not to fire 'anybody' after Rosenstein report Ben Carson appears to tie allegation against Kavanaugh to socialist plot Five takeaways from Cruz, O'Rourke's fiery first debate MORE signing an executive order last week children to be detained alongside their parents or guardians.

It remains unclear as to how the order will be carried out. 

Migrant children are not allowed to be detained for more than 20 days at a time, which does not apply to adults. 

A federal judge in San Diego also has ordered the government to act quickly to reunite children with their families.