For Immediate Release:
January 10, 2018
WASHINGTON, DC – The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) released a statement yesterday announcing a significant increase in border apprehension numbers for December 2017. These numbers indicate a slow and steady monthly increase of unaccompanied children and families fleeing Central American countries and seeking safety in the United States.
The Administration also promised to close “loopholes” that allow unaccompanied children and families to flee to the U.S. These so-called loopholes are U.S. laws that prevent the trafficking of children and ensure protections for bona fide asylum-seekers.
“The Administration’s determinedness to ‘crack-down’ on kids fleeing to our borders is disturbing,” says Jessica Jones, Policy Counsel at Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS). “A child’s well-being should never be a toy for political purposes. Attempts to develop deterrence policies that victimize children are unfathomable, but also make no sense.”
Comprehensive research of DHS data has found that deterrence policies have little impact when a child is forced to migrate from Central America–instead regional violence is the single biggest driver. The steady flight of children and families from these regions in Central America reflect just that.
LIRS encourages the Administration to focus on efforts to ensure that children have adequate protection in Northern Triangle countries and Mexico, and uphold our current laws to protect these asylum-seeking children and families.
Founded in 1939, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service is one of the largest refugee resettlement agencies in the United States. It is nationally recognized for its leadership advocating with refugees, asylum seekers, unaccompanied children, immigrants in detention, families fractured by migration and other vulnerable populations. Through more than 75 years of service and advocacy, LIRS has helped over 500,000 migrants and refugees rebuild their lives in America.