BY ISN STAFF | October 22, 2014
WASHINGTON DC – The U.S. Jesuit Conference joined approximately 50 other faith-based and immigrant rights NGO’s in calling on the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs regarding factors which are causing unaccompanied children to seek refuge in the U.S. from grave violence, impunity, and lack of educational and economic opportunity.
The letter to the committee leadership which includes Senator Patrick J. Leahy (VT), Senator Lindsey Graham (SC), Senator Kay Granger (TX), and Senator Nita Lowey (NY) was dated October 21, 2014. It asks the committee to create a strategy and spending plan to address poverty, minimal educational opportunities, lack of employment, and high rates of crime (including gang activity, violent crime, narcotics and human trafficking, and child abuse and neglect) that are contributing to the significant increase in unaccompanied children from Central America’s Northern Triangle.
The NGO signatories offered specific actions for the U.S. Congress to take in three main areas:
- Address violence against children in the region, including violence linked to organized crime, and sexual and gender-based violence;
- Adopt specific measures that strengthen human rights in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras;
- Funding for specific international institutions to strengthen the rule of law and respect for human rights in Central America.
The letter closed with a moral perspective to the Senate committee members, noting, “children would not be fleeing Central America alone and in such numbers without serious situations that compel them to undertake this dangerous journey.” It’s final statement implored the Senators to take action, stating that the U.S. must to respond to the migration of unaccompanied children in ways that are “compassionate, reasonable and sustainable.”
The full letter can be read here.