Washington, D.C.— Today, leading human rights, development, and faith-based organizations released an open letter to Members of Congress calling on legislators to address the humanitarian crisis of tens of thousands of children from Central America who have been apprehended and detained at the U.S. border. The letter appeared in a full page ad in the Wednesday edition of The Hill.
The groups are calling on Congress to address the immediate emergency needs of the children and families at the border while providing resources to address the underlying conditions that are driving them to flee Central America.
“These children are turning themselves in and seeking our protection from horrendous violence in their communities,” said WOLA’s Executive Director, Joy Olson. “More border security will not help. We need to face the root causes of violence at the community level.”
Many of the signatory organizations have long experience working on Central America policy in the United States and on the ground in the region. They have witnessed the origins of the crisis and have specific, practical recommendations for “investments in violence prevention, criminal justice reform, and development programs that will help stabilize communities and expand opportunities for the young people of Central America.”
“We have a moral and legal obligation to ensure these children and families are treated humanely and provided all due protections under current law,” say the signatories. “This is a complex crisis and human tragedy that demands a response to both immediate needs and longstanding causes.”
Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA)
Bread for the World
National Council of Churches, USA
Jesuit Conference USA
Women’s Refugee Commission
Franciscan Action Network
International Rescue Committee (IRC)
Latin America Working Group (LAWG)
Guatemala Human Rights Commission/USA
Jesuit Refugee Service/USA (JRS)
Alliance of Baptists
Church World Service (CWS)
United Methodist Church, General Board of Church and Society
National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW)
Leadership Conference of Women Religious
National Immigration Law Center (NILC)
Coalition on Human Needs (CHN)
Women Thrive Worldwide
Mennonite Central Committee (MCC)
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA)
Pax Christi USA
World Food Program USA (WFP)
Chicago Religious Leadership Network (CRLN)
Friends Committee on National Legislation
Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns
Cuban American Alliance
RFK Center for Justice & Human Rights
Peace Action & Peace Action Education Fund
Columban Center for Advocacy and Outreach
Sisters and Brother of Immigrants, Inc.
The AME Zion Church
Arkansas Interfaith Alliance
Center for International Policy (CIP)
Peace Brigades International—USA (PBI)
ZERO TO THREE
Church of the Brethren
United Church of Christ, Justice and Witness Ministries (UCC)
American Federation of Labor and Congress of
Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO)
Sister Parish, Inc.
Global Ministries of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and United Church of Christ
Please click here for the full text of the letter.
Please click here for additional information and analysis from WOLA.