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Washington, D.C. – Today, President Obama asked Congress for $3.7 billion in emergency funding to address the surge of unaccompanied children crossing the U.S. southern border. Bread for the World urges lawmakers to look closer at push factors of unauthorized migration and ways U.S. policy can address those drivers.
“We appreciate the administration’s focus on this crisis,” said Rev. David Beckmann, president of Bread for the World. “However, we must remember that this is more than just about enforcement. What we are witnessing is people desperately trying to escape conditions of violence, hunger, and poverty.”
While the majority of this funding request will target border enforcement, up to $295 million will be available to help governments within the region better control their borders, and to address the underlying root causes driving migration, i.e., the economic, social, governance, and security conditions that are contributing to significant increases in migration to the United States.
“Few people are elevating social and economic conditions that compel people to take such dangerous risks by crossing the U.S. border or sending their unaccompanied children in search of a better life,” Beckmann added, “but they are conditions that must be addressed if we are serious about fixing this crisis.”
In an attempt to challenge misconceptions that children and families can migrate to the United States and stay, the White House announced last month that it would take further action to reduce the surge of families and unaccompanied minors migrating from Central America by opening additional family detention facilities, among other measures. Just last week, President Obama vowed to move forward with executive action on immigration, immediately refocusing resources to strengthen border security.
“With hundreds of thousands more unaccompanied minors expected to cross the border, this is an immediate humanitarian crisis on U.S. soil,” Beckmann added. “Perhaps more than any other immigration-related issue, this situation demonstrates the urgent need for Congress to replace our broken immigration system through legislation that addresses migration push factors.”
Bread for the World urges Congress to pass legislation that supports development-assistance programs, especially those addressing migration push factors, including hunger and poverty.
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