U.S. Congressman David N. Cicilline a member of the House Judiciary Committee, yesterday met with the Ambassador to the UN for the Republic of El Salvador Rubén Zamora, Ambassador of the Republic of Guatemala Julio Ligorría, and the Ambassador of the Republic of Honduras Jorge Milla Reyes to discuss the situation at the southwest border of the United States.
Recently, the number of unaccompanied minors entering the U.S. has surged causing a strain on the current system designed to process immigration cases. The majority of these children come from Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala where crime and violence has spiked. In fact, since 2010, Honduras has had the highest murder rate in the world. After the meeting, Cicilline issued the following statement:
“I appreciate Ambassadors Altschul, Ligorria, and Reyes taking the time to meet with us today. It was an important opportunity to convey directly to the Ambassadors the urgency of doing all they can to discourage parents from sending their children unaccompanied to the United States. America has a proud history of defending basic human rights and we have a responsibility to make decisions in the best interest of the children and process these children to ensure they are not being returned to face abuse, trafficking or violence back home. We must also review these immigration cases consistent with prevailing law to guarantee all appropriate due process, and proceed humanely. I support the Administration’s request for additional resources to help strengthen border security and process immigration cases at a faster pace, but I do not support undermining basic legal protections afforded to these children under current law. Importantly, we must send a strong message to the people of Mexico and Central America that children who undergo this hazardous journey will be returned based on U.S. law if they do not qualify for refugee or asylum status.
“This humanitarian crisis is yet another example that our current immigration system is broken. Last year, the Senate passed a bipartisan bill that would increase our border security, support jobs and grow our economy, and it is long past time for House Republicans to allow a vote on this critical legislation. America’s strength is rooted in our values as a nation and when innocent children seek refuge from traffickers, smugglers and violence we must proceed in a way that honors our values.”