For Immediate Release:
June 21, 2018
ARLINGTON, VA-The U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants (USCRI) reiterates our opposition to family separation and detention considering the Executive Order signed yesterday.
Fearing the harm already inflicted on thousands of children due to unnecessary family separation, we urge the Administration to act swiftly to reunify toddlers, youth and teens with their family members as the highest priority. We urge increasing the use of alternatives to detention in compliance with international law which indicates immigration detention must be used as a last resort.
“USCRI understands there are many factors contributing to the migration to our southern border in search of protection, which is why we have an office in El Salvador to create livelihood opportunities for vulnerable youth. In 2014, we proposed the Central American Minor program to protect children and prevent the dangerous journey. This program was shut down without explanation on January 31, 2018 although it had proven to be a lifeline for children. The program should be restarted and expanded to ensure adequate refugee protection is afforded to those fleeing persecution and to avoid the perilous journey and a crisis at the border,” said Eskinder Negash, President/CEO of USCRI.
As USCRI predicted one month ago, the real impact of the family separation policy has been to inflict irreparable harm, fear and trauma on young children. Families from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras are escaping countries with the highest murder rates in the world. The U. N. High Commissioner for Refugees reports El Salvador has the highest murder rate in the world for minors. Until these conditions are addressed, people will continue to run for their lives.
USCRI recommends protecting children by:
Groups and individuals across the country have stood together this week in opposition to family separation and for that we are grateful. In recognition of this collective national voice we call on our elected representatives to immediately act to pass legislation that protects children and respects the rights of persons seeking asylum.
For over 100 years, USCRI has protected the rights and addressed the needs of persons in forced or voluntary migration worldwide and supported their transition to a dignified life.