On February 4, 2016, the Scalabrinian International Migration Network (SIMN) submitted written testimony to the House Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security of the U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary Committee on the plight of unaccompanied children and families fleeing violence in the northern triangle countries of Central America.
The statement outlined SIMN’s views on the nature of the populations escaping the region and policy responses which would humanely respond to the growing crisis. “From our experience with these persons,” the testimony read, “it is clear that they are fleeing threats and violence in their communties, towns, and cities.”
Citing a recent study by the Center for Migration Studies of New York (CMS), the testimony contrasted the decrease in undocumented migration from Mexico and other Latin American countries to the United States with a five percent increase in persons from the northern triangle region–Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador.
“The CMS study is consistent with the fact that the migratory flow from these three nations over the past five years is driven by different factors than other countries in Central America,” the testimony read. “Violence, persecution, and the breakdown of the rule of law, as well as the lack of opportunity, are among the push factors from the northern triangle nations.”
The testimony outlined several policy recommendations to help address the refugee situation, including the expansion of refugee resettlement in the area and collaboration with SIMN in identifying and referring children and families at risk to the program. It also urged the designation of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for the nationals of the three countries in the United States, in order to protect them from enforcement actions recently launched by the U.S. Administration. Finally, it urged long-term assistance to the region to create opportunities for young persons in the region to have hope for a future.
“The SIMN’s houses of migrants and shelters work each day with these vulnerable children and families,” the testimony concluded. “It is clear to our network that this crisis will not end soon. We look forward to working with the U.S. government and Congress in resolving this crisis as soon as possible.’
The testimony can be found at https://www.simn-global.org/anuncios/232/56b36afc6e78d.pdf