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Note: The ideas and opinions expressed in this blog are solely those of the author's and should not be ascribed to the Congregation of Sisters of St. Agnes or its members.


Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Oppose H.R. 1149 and H.R. 1153


Tomorrow (3.4.2015) the House Judiciary Committee will begin consideration on multiple bills that would unduly inflict harm upon families and unaccompanied children fleeing violence by expanding immigration detention, limiting access to due process, and creating additional bars to prevent access to our asylum and trafficking protection systems. Two of these bills, H.R. 1149 the Protection of Children Act and H.R. 1153 the Asylum Reform and Border Protection Act, propose rollbacks to the bipartisan Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act (TVPRA) of 2008. The TVPRA passed both chambers of Congress by unanimous consent and was signed into law by President Bush to address our international obligations of not returning vulnerable migrants to danger and to reduce the likelihood that the U.S. would deport children back into the hands of traffickers and others who would exploit them. Children fleeing violence from Central America are escaping gang violence, sexual and gender-based violence, forced recruitment, domestic violence, and are often victims of trafficking. Children fleeing for their lives will not be deterred by punitive legislation designed to persuade them not to come to the U.S. by eroding important human rights protections. The U.S. must show leadership by finding ways to reduce the violence these children face in their home countries, rather than immorally attempting to deport them more quickly. 

This heartbreaking story, shared by a partner of a Jesuit social center in Honduras is one of many that shows why these children need access to protection: After “Leticia” was raped by over a dozen gang members, she and her family reported the crime to the police. They immediately began to receive death threats. In the absence of any protection, and likely complicity by police in the gang’s terror campaign, the local partner attempted to relocate Leticia to a women’s shelter. The shelter refused to take the case because of fear that they would not be able to protect either Leticia or their other beneficiaries from the gang. In the end to protect Leticia from further harm, she had to be sent to another country.  

Call 1-866-940-2439 to be connected with the offices of House Judiciary Committee Members. Keep up the pressure on social media!
 

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