(Washington, D.C.) July 23, 1014 — Jesuit Refugee Service/USA today joined leading human rights, development, and faith-based organizations in 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 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 Joy Olson, Executive Director of the Washington Office on Latin America. "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 obligations 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."