For Immediate Release: Contact: Taylor Booth at 202-724-7944
February 4, 2016
Listen to a recording of today’s call here.
Washington, DC—Conditions in the Northern Triangle Region of Central America (El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras) have deteriorated in recent years, leading to an increased number of asylum seekers, including women and children, reaching our Southern border and asking for protection under domestic and international law.
Unfortunately, Republicans on the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Border Security and Immigration, intent upon politicizing this issue, held a hearing on Thursday to do just that. Following today’s hearing, policy experts gathered on a press call to discuss the humanitarian crisis in Central America and the steps the U.S. can and should take to ensure due process protections for those fleeing violence.
Lynn Tramonte, Deputy Director of America’s Voice said, “The Republicans are trying to paint this picture that the border is out of control, when the reality is that these people are fleeing violence and asking for safety. What we need to do is talk about the steps we can take to ensure protections for those seeking asylum here, and stop playing politics with refugees’ lives.”
“KIND is deeply concerned about the increasing emphasis on a law enforcement approach toward addressing the surge of unaccompanied refugee children and families from Central America that jeopardizes the protection of vulnerable individuals from the rampant violence that characterizes their home countries,” added Kids in Need of Defense President, Wendy Young. “While the recently announced U.S. resettlement program is a step in the right direction, it is a limited response that must be accompanied by full and fair access to the U.S. asylum system for those Central American families and children who reach our border seeking safety.”
Michelle Brané, Director, Migrant Rights & Justice Program Women’s Refugee Commission said, “The influx of Central Americans coming to the U.S. is a refugee crisis, not a border security issue. Women and children presenting themselves to border officials and seeking protection are not a security threat and that should not be used as an excuse to roll back the protection the U.S. has traditionally offered. We have the ability to both regulate our borders and uphold our values by providing due process and asylum to those fleeing some of the most dangerous countries in the world.”
“As an organization that serves migrant and refugee children, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service believes children are best cared for by their families,” said Jessica Jones, Policy Counsel at Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service. “The Office of Refugee Resettlement has both the trafficking and child welfare expertise to oversee the care and reunification of unaccompanied migrant children. They can and should ensure resources to vouchsafe a child’s safety in reunification.”
Kevin Appleby, Director of International Migration Policy at the Center for Migration Studies added, “According to government data, the undocumented population from Mexico and most parts of Latin America has dropped significantly over the past ten years. Only the northern triangle countries of Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras have seen an increase in the numbers migrating to the United States. This flags this flow as a refugee movement, not an economic one.”