U.N. rights chief rips Trump policies on environment, migration

GENEVA, Feb 27 (Reuters) - United Nations human rights chief Michelle Bachelet said on Thursday U.S. President Donald Trump's administration was endangering public health and the rights of children with its policies on the environment and migration.

In a speech to the U.N. Human Rights Council, the former Chilean president decried Washington's moves to roll back environmental protections, including for waterways and wetlands, in its drive to deregulate the U.S. economy.

"Untreated pollutants may now be poured directly into millions of miles of streams and rivers, putting ecosystems, drinking water and human health at risk. Weaker fuel emission standards for vehicles and decreased regulations on the oil and gas industries could also harm human rights," Bachelet said.

Trump has pared back some protections on public lands including in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and Utah's Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments that may eventually allow companies to stake claims for drilling and mining in these regions.

Bachelet also criticized U.S. migration policies that she said raised significant human rights concerns.

"Reducing the number of people trying to enter the country should not be done in disregard of (international) asylum and migrant protections. The situation of children in detention is of particular concern," she said.

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'Tent city' for immigrant children separated from parents in Texas
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'Tent city' for immigrant children separated from parents in Texas
Immigrant children, many of whom have been separated from their parents under a new "zero tolerance" policy by the Trump administration, are being housed in tents next to the Mexican border in Tornillo, Texas, U.S. June 18, 2018. REUTERS/Mike Blake TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Raymondville, UNITED STATES: A futuristic USD 65 million tent city designed to hold about 2,000 illegal immigrants is pictured 10 April 2006 in Raymondville, Texas. The newly-constructed barbed-wire enclosed camp in the Rio Grande Valley will hold illegal immigrants for weeks to years until they can be returned to their home countires by US officials. AFP Photo/Paul J. Richards (Photo credit should read PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images)
Immigrant children, many of whom have been separated from their parents under a new "zero tolerance" policy by the Trump administration, are shown walking in single file between tents in their compound next to the Mexican border in Tornillo, Texas, U.S. June 18, 2018. REUTERS/Mike Blake
Immigrant children, many of whom have been separated from their parents under a new "zero tolerance" policy by the Trump administration, are being housed in tents next to the Mexican border in Tornillo, Texas, U.S. June 18, 2018. REUTERS/Mike Blake
Immigrant children, many of whom have been separated from their parents under a new "zero tolerance" policy by the Trump administration, are shown walking in single file between tents in their compound next to the Mexican border in Tornillo, Texas, U.S. June 18, 2018. Picture taken June 18, 2018. REUTERS/Mike Blake
The inside of a dormitory at the Tornillo facility, a shelter for children of detained migrants, is seen in this photo provided by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, in Tornillo, Texas, U.S., June 14, 2018. ACF/HHS/Handout via REUTERS Picture taken June 14, 2018. ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY.
Immigrant children, many of whom have been separated from their parents under a new "zero tolerance" policy by the Trump administration, walk in single file between tents in their compound next to the Mexican border in Tornillo, Texas, U.S. June 18, 2018. REUTERS/Mike Blake
Immigrant children, many of whom have been separated from their parents under a new "zero tolerance" policy by the Trump administration, are shown walking in single file between tents in their compound next to the Mexican border in Tornillo, Texas, U.S. June 18, 2018. REUTERS/Mike Blake
The Tornillo facility, a shelter for children of detained migrants, is seen in this photo provided by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, in Tornillo, Texas, U.S., June 14, 2018. ACF/HHS/Handout via REUTERS Picture taken June 14, 2018. ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY.
Immigrant children, many of whom have been separated from their parents under a new "zero tolerance" policy by the Trump administration, are being housed in tents by the Department of Homeland Security next to the Mexican border in Tornillo, Texas, U.S. June 18, 2018. REUTERS/Mike Blake
Immigrant children, many of whom have been separated from their parents under a new "zero tolerance" policy by the Trump administration, are shown walking in single file between tents in their compound next to the Mexican border in Tornillo, Texas, U.S. June 18, 2018. REUTERS/Mike Blake
The Tornillo facility, a shelter for children of detained migrants, is seen in this photo provided by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, in Tornillo, Texas, U.S., June 14, 2018. ACF/HHS/Handout via REUTERS Picture taken June 14, 2018. ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY.
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Since January 2019, the Trump administration has sent migrants, mostly from Central America, back to Mexico under a policy called Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), which is also known as Remain in Mexico.

Reducing migration to the United States has been a centerpiece of Trump's presidency and 2020 re-election campaign.

One of his first acts after assuming office in January 2017 was to issue an order cutting in half a plan to resettle 110,000 refugees that year. Since then, the cap has been slashed each year Trump has been in office. (Reporting by Michael Shields; editing by Stephanie Nebehay and Mark Heinrich)

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