FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 26, 2021
Washington, D.C. – Following is a statement from members of the Children Thrive Action Network (CTAN) Coordinating Committee. See a list of signatories at the end.
Children fleeing Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala, and other nations in search of safety are just that–children. They are children trying to grow up and live their lives. U.S law recognizes this and affords them special protections. Yet some U.S. Government officials and Members of Congress would rather dehumanize them and their families, co-opting their pain for political gain.
Today, another congressional delegation travels to the southwest border. Some will offer only soundbites, not solutions. They will ignore the tragic conditions that force people to migrate. They will ignore the myriad ways the prior administration dismantled our nation’s asylum system and other avenues of legal immigration,—each of which must be rapidly restored and strengthened.
CTAN is a coalition of advocates and service providers who work directly with or on behalf of children in immigrant families. Our vision is of a society where all children are valued and cared for, regardless of where they or their parents were born. We take this opportunity to remind the world that:
- It is legal to seek asylum in the United States. This right is enshrined in U.S. law, and treaties ratified by the United States. People arriving at our borders and requesting asylum are, in fact, following U.S. and international law. U.S. law also recognizes the particular vulnerability of children arriving alone and offers them additional protections.
- The crisis is in the homes of families forced to flee or send a child to safety. It may be difficult to imagine the impossible choice these families face, if you’ve never felt powerless before. This is the most difficult decision of their lives, and parents who choose to leave home, or send their children north, do so out of love. The pain they feel in having to make this decision may never subside.
- The United States is strong enough, smart enough, and caring enough to help vulnerable children and families build a future. The aid that non-governmental and religious organizations are providing to migrants, after years of federal dysfunction, is inspiring and represents America at its best.
There are solutions. International organizations with decades of experience assisting refugees have offered various proposals. Any plan must center the safety, health and well-being of children and their families, and keep children united with parents or other loving caregivers, recognizing that for many, the definition of “family” is broader than biology.
As advocates for children, we add our voice to the chorus of people urging all of our leaders to follow our better angels and lead with love.
Center for Law and Social Policy
Children’s Defense Fund
First Focus on Children
Justice for Migrant Women
The Children’s Partnership