July 31, 2014

Emergency Aid for Unaccompanied Minors Should Address Root Causes

Washington, D.C. –Yesterday a procedural vote of 63-33 in favor of S.2648 brought the bill to the Senate floor for debate. Bread for the World supports S. 2648, as it includes $300 million for the State Department to help address the root causes, such as hunger, poverty, and violence, that are driving these children and their families to flee their countries and make the perilous journey to the United States and other countries in the region.

“Focusing solely on our border is a band-aid solution that ends up costing tax-payers more in the long run,” said Rev. David Beckmann, president of Bread for the World. “The Senate bill is a great first step in addressing the various root causes of this humanitarian crisis and treating our brothers and sisters in Central America with dignity.”

The funding would support programs that promote economic development, holistic repatriation efforts for children who return to their home countries, services for at-risk young people, and advance improvements in civil society and governance in Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador.

“This is a great victory, though the road ahead is going to be challenging. We pray that our leaders treat these children as they would treat their own. We cannot blame these unaccompanied children for the violence and economic instability in their countries of origin.

“These children don’t want to come here. Mothers and fathers don’t want to send their children to a foreign land but many feel it is the only way to protect their children and give them the possibility of a brighter future. We must work with the governments in Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador to ensure that they have a stable economy that encourages the entrepreneur and an environment where a child never worries about where their next meal will come from or about being recruited into a gang.” 

The Senate will continue consideration of S. 2648 today and may possibly vote on this measure later this afternoon or tomorrow. Bread for the World urges all senators to bring this bill to the Senate floor for a vote and support its final passage. Also today, the House is expected to vote on H.R. 5230, a pared-down version of the Senate bill with a lackluster economic development component. 

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