Right now in Congress, our elected officials are considering lifting important protections for migrant children currently provided under the Trafficking Victims Protection and Reauthorization Act of 2008 (TVPRA) — a law which requires children to have a hearing before a judge and to have an attorney present.
We must demand that our elected officials ensure the safety of children arriving at the US border.
You can take action now by signing our petition calling for Congress to protect Central American children.
Our friends at the Chicago Religious Leadership Network have also circulated this call to action. Please join us in supporting this important initiative:
Congress is Preparing to Vote on the Unaccompanied Minors! Can you spare a minute to make sure they vote the right way?
Call (1-866-940-2439 ) or email your U.S. senators and representatives in the next 48 hours and urge them to pass the Senate Bill and reject the House Bill.
Here’s a sample script: “I’m from State, Congregation/Community, and I strongly oppose any rollbacks to the Trafficking Victims Protection Act. Unaccompanied children fleeing violence should not be returned to unsafe situations, but must be protected and cared for humanely. As your constituent, I expect you to stand firm against any proposal that would sacrifice a child’s safety for expediency. The U.S. must instead find ways to reduce the violence these children face in their home countries and ensure that children who arrive to the U.S. have access to the legal counsel and services they need.”
With the August recess looming over our heads this Friday, the Senate and the House are both looking to pass two substantially different bills regarding the unaccompanied minors traveling from Central America through Mexico and into the United States. Let’s be clear. Neither is perfect, but one is far better than the other.
House Bill H.R. 5230, introduced by Congressman Hal Rogers (KY-R), allocates just $47 million for the provision of the humanitarian services drastically needed by vulnerable unaccompanied minors. The bill also promotes border militarization in the form of increased funding for enforcement and detention activities and agencies like U.S Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
In further contradiction to the suggestions of many activist and humanitarian groups and in complete disregard for the right to due process, H.R. 5230 also makes dangerous changes to vital provisions of the Trafficking Victims Protection and Reauthorization Act of 2008 (TVPRA) which are meant to insure that children’s stories are heard and avoid reckless deportation to the hands of traffickers, gangs, and other dangers.
By comparison Senate Bill, S2648, respects and affirms the (TVPRA), increasing the funds and protections available to those who are found to be victims of trafficking. S2648 also reserves $94 million for the caring of the currently detained children and for the addressing of the root causes of migration, including hunger, poverty, and violence.
Please take a minute to contact your contact your U.S. senators and representatives now.