Written on: July 16, 2014
In the interest of keeping you informed, we are sharing this notice received from the Leadership Conference of Women Religious today. We encourage you to add your voice to help those without a voice in their own countries, and possibly our own.
For an overview of the crisis we are experiencing at our southern border regarding the thousands of unaccompanied children, please click here to view a 2 minute video.
URGENT: CALL THE SENATE & HOUSE TODAY!
Demand that Congress REJECT Rollbacks to the Trafficking Victims Protection Act
Proposals to “deport children more quickly” would return unaccompanied children to exploitation, trafficking and unsafe situations
As the U.S. government responds to the humanitarian crisis faced by unaccompanied children and families fleeing violence in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, both President Obama and some Members of Congress are proposing changes to the 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.
Changes to the TVPRA would mean that children would not have a meaningful opportunity to have their story heard, apply for asylum, or be cared for humanely by child welfare personnel, and would be deported to potentially life-threatening situations. Congress should not rescind this bipartisan law at precisely the time when more children are in need of these protections. The U.S. must show leadership by finding ways to reduce the violence these children face in their home countries, rather than immoral proposals to deport them more quickly. More than 4,000 people of faith have already urged Congress and the Administration to uphold these protections in a letter delivered to Congress and Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson.
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 your Representative and both of your Senators.
You can also go to bit.ly/TheyAreChildren to call directly.
Here’s a sample script: “I’m from State/ Congregation/Faith Community and as a person of faith, I strongly oppose any rollbacks to the Trafficking Victims Protection Act. Unaccompanied children fleeing violence should not be returned to unsafe situations, but must be protected and cared for humanely.
As your constituent, I expect you to stand firm against any proposal that would sacrifice a child’s safety for expediency. The U.S. must instead find ways to reduce the violence these children face in their home countries and ensure that children who arrive to the U.S. have access to the legal counsel and services they need.”
Keep up the pressure on social media!
Go to bit.ly/TheyAreChildren to urge Congress to oppose proposals that would hurt unaccompanied children: Ex: .@SpeakerBoehner As a person of faith I urge you to oppose TVPRA changes that would deport kids to unsafe situations #TheyAreChildren #UACs (Note: the first period “.” Is important)
Telephone Prompt-when you call you’ll hear:
Thank you for calling your Representative and Senators as they consider changes to the Trafficking Victims Protection Act that would return children to exploitation, trafficking and unsafe situations.
When you call, tell the receptionist your State and Congregation, and that you urge your Representative or Senator to oppose any rollbacks to the Trafficking Victims Protection Act, and that you expect them to stand firm against any proposal that would sacrifice a child’s safety for expediency. The U.S. must instead find ways to reduce the violence these children face in their home countries, and ensure that children who arrive to the U.S. have access to the legal counsel and services they need.”
You will now be connected to your Representative or Senator’s office. Please call this number three times, to be connected with your Representative and both your Senators.
For more information, go to bit.ly/TheyAreChildren. Thank you again!