Both the Senate and House have introduced emergency funding bills to respond to the unaccompanied children fleeing violence in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras.
Calls to your Senators and Representative are urgently needed today. Tell them to REJECT rollbacks to the Trafficking Victims Protection Act and to INCREASE funding for refugee resettlement.
The Senate bill, S. 2648 would provide adequate funding to serve the children and fully replenish the $94 million of refugee social services funding that was recently reprogrammed. But the House bill would replenish only $47 million of the refugee funding cuts and would horrendously deport children back to potentially life-threatening situations. This is wrong.
The Senate bill is a “clean supplemental” – meaning it does not include negative policies. The House bill, however, includes the ill-labeled “HUMANE” Act, which would eliminate vital protections in the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008 (TVPRA) specifically for children from El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras – the very children who are fleeing devastating violence and in need of these protections.
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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.