New York, June 20, 2018 – The Congregation of the Missionaries of Saint Charles, Scalabrinians, and the Scalabrini International Migration Network (SIMN) strongly oppose the immoral policy of family separation currently being implemented by the U.S. government. The Scalabrinians and SIMN, which operates 250 immigration programs—shelters, schools, and community centers—around the world, is well aware of the migration crisis in Central America and the violence and endemic poverty which force migrant families to seek safety in other countries, including the United States.
These families are extremely vulnerable and do not pose a threat to the citizens of the United States. They are not criminals, but rather asylum-seekers looking for protection from criminal organizations in their home countries. They should not be prosecuted and jailed, but offered safe haven and a chance to join family members or live in community-based alternatives to detention in order to prepare themselves for their asylum cases.
Rather than pursuing cruel deterrence policies which are ineffective and inhumane, the United States should work with other countries in the region to address the push factors driving families and children to take dangerous journeys to find safety. Policies which create job opportunities and reduce violence and impunity in the Northern Triangle countries are needed, as well as a regional protection system which encourages responsibility-sharing among nations in the region and beyond, including the United States.
As the United Nations and numerous human rights organizations have stated, this policy violates international law standards and should be stopped immediately. Young children should not be used as bargaining chips to achieve a broader, restrictive immigration agenda.
On this World Day of Refugees, we encourage members of the U.S. Congress of both political parties to oppose this policy and to work toward its immediate termination. Instead, the U.S. administration and Congress should adopt policies bring order and prosperity to the Northern Triangle, so that these families can remain in their homes in safety and dignity.
As a Congregation and global network, we stand ready to assist governments in addressing this ongoing migration crisis, consistent with international law and international protection standards. Deterrence policies which cause harm to vulnerable children and families have no place in migration management and should be abandoned not only on the U.S.-Mexico border, but worldwide.
About SIMN – SIMN is supporting more than 250 Scalabrini centers, shelters, and programs that are providing lodging, food, training, and employment programs; psychological and religious services; protection to victims of human trafficking; and support in the integration process to migrants, refugees and seafarers on five continents. In 2017, Scalabrini centers supported 136,319 migrants and refugees and 227,785 seafarers around the world. SIMN also supports a network of schools providing education, supplies, and food to thousands of vulnerable children. SIMN is an accredited Non-Governmental Organization at the United Nations, the International Organization for Migration (IOM), and the Organization of American States (OAS), and from this perspective is providing research and support for regional and global policies to protect and promote the dignity and the rights of migrants and their families.