Media CenterCatholic Leaders Speak Out About Policy Toward Unaccompanied Minors
Catholic News Service spoke with Catholic leaders, including Catholic Relief Services' Rick Jones, about their take on the current situation of unaccompanied minors fleeing their countries and crossing into the United States and other countries. Posted on the National Catholic Reporter:
A Latin America expert for Catholic Relief Services, the head of the bishops' migration committee and the president of a Catholic college in Michigan were among those urging the government toward humanitarian responses to a surge of children and families crossing the U.S. border from Central America. Among their recommendations were: fully funding a requested federal appropriation for services to deal with the influx of people; investigating and working to address the root causes of emigration from El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala; and creating a program so people may seek permission to come to the United States without having to make the treacherous and illegal journey. Such programs have been successful in Iraq, Vietnam and the former Soviet Union. In July 16 testimony to the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs, Richard Jones, the CRS deputy regional director for Latin America and the Caribbean, said his agency has seen the numbers of unaccompanied youth fleeing Central America double yearly since 2011. "We have seen the homicide rates grow, forced displacement increase, and Mexican and Colombian drug cartels battle over who controls the routes through Central America," he said in written testimony. "In El Salvador and Honduras, there are more gang members than police."
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