Media CenterCRS Questions Border Wall Proposal; Citing U.S.’ Moral Responsibility to Protect

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Jossie Sapunar
Catholic Relief Services
[email protected]
(443) 833-2011

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Catholic Relief Services Urges Replacing Infrastructure Investment with Development Aid

WASHINGTON, DC, January 25, 2017 – Catholic Relief Services (CRS), the international humanitarian aid organization of the Catholic Church in the United States, says that there are better ways to deal with the flight of migrants and asylum-seekers from Mexico and Central America than spending millions of dollars on a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. 

“The government has committed tens of billions to border security but maintained a comparative trickle of development aid for Central America,” said Sean Callahan, CRS president & CEO. “We need to address the reasons people are leaving their homes – violence and lack of opportunity. And we need to protect their right to apply for asylum.”  For decades, CRS and the Catholic Church have advocated for comprehensive immigration reform.

CRS works directly with at-risk youth in the Northern Triangle countries of Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala, home to many asylum-seekers who are escaping rampant criminal violence unchecked by weak state institutions.

“While working in the most violent neighborhoods of Honduras, for example, we have seen how children are orphaned by violence,” continued Callahan. “People have a right not to migrate and remain in their home countries – that is our goal – but when their very lives are threatened, they don’t have that option. And as a nation, we have always afforded people their day in court to apply for protection."

The Northern Triangle countries have some of the highest youth homicide rates in the world. The World Health Organization considers more than 11 murders per 100,000 inhabitants an epidemic. El Salvador’s murder rate is 108.5 per 100,000, Honduras’ rate is 62.5 and Guatemala’s 29.2.

CRS has successfully partnered with the U.S. government and local partners in the Northern Triangle to help children to remain in school and build their work skills, and to help families to restore their agricultural livelihoods. The YouthBuild program, part of the YouthBuild International Network, has prepared some 6,000 young people in El Salvador for entry into the job market and worked with more than 250 private companies to help secure much-needed jobs.



Catholic Relief Services is the official international humanitarian agency of the Catholic community in the United States. The agency alleviates suffering and provides assistance to people in need in more than 100 countries, without regard to race, religion or nationality. CRS’ relief and development work is accomplished through programs of emergency response, HIV, health, agriculture, education, microfinance and peacebuilding. For more information, please visit or and follow CRS on social media: Facebook@CatholicRelief@CRSnewsYouTubeInstagram and Pinterest.

CRS urges replacing infrastructure investment with development aid.More