Statement on the Separation of Families and Detention of Migrant Children

The Seminar on the Acquisition of Latin American Library Materials (SALALM) is a global community of librarians, educators, booksellers, and other information professionals that supports research and teaching on Latin America and the Caribbean. This mission incorporates commitments to advancing the understanding of the region, its peoples and their needs and perspectives – including migrant children held in US detention centers.

The current treatment of detained migrant children violates Articles 5 and 19 of the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights which state, respectively, that “No one shall be subjected…to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment” (Art. 5) and that “Everyone has the right … to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers” (Art. 19). The detention of migrant children has resulted in a failure to provide sufficient medical care and adequate living conditions and has prevented access to educational and play materials in Spanish, English, and indigenous languages.

At its 2018 annual meeting in Mexico City SALALM members approved a resolution calling on the reunification of migrant children with their parents. Today, SALALM stands with the American Library Association’s (ALA) Resolution on Library Service for Children in Detention at Migrant Detention Centers in opposing the dire conditions for minors held in detention centers and calls on its members and the larger educational community to voice its opposition to this policy.