A project of the Center for Community Change

Children Fleeing Violence Deserve Solutions, Not Posturing

Republicans Playing Politics As White House Positions to Potentially Roll Back Important Refugee Safeguards

WASHINGTON — The nation’s largest immigrant-rights coalition, the Fair Immigration Reform Movement, released the following statement on behalf of Kica Matos:

“The humanitarian issue on the border gives our country a choice: Are we the symbol of hope and progress for the rest of the world? Or is our political system so besieged by gridlock that we fail children fleeing the threat of gang violence?

“The White House’s request for resources for refugee children and families are an important first step to respond to the situation on the border. Indeed, people seeking refuge here deserve immigration judges, legal counsel and legal orientation programs, among much broader needs.  But doing the right thing and appropriating the right resources should not come at the cost of sensible refugee protections. As the White House request stands, the administration could preclude the children and families from obtaining the careful, robust screening, and full protection that U.S. law grants them to ensure their safety and wellbeing, and to preserve fundamental due process rights. This would be a shameful disservice to our tradition of welcoming those striving to make it, and could speed up the delivery of thousands of children into the hands of dangerous gangs.

“Republicans, on the other hand, have been palpably eager to turn this delicate situation into a political tool in their quest to oppose President Obama at every step, no matter the situation at hand. They have tried to mislead the public, create confusion, and block the process at every step of the way, while the American people are wondering if we will step up and lead on behalf of these children.

“Instead of leading, we see an unfortunate abdication values and responsibility by the White House and Congress. We are the United States of America – a nation built by generations of families from across the world and where there is an unparalleled pursuit of justice for the more vulnerable among us.

“The children coming to our borders seeking aid constitute a test of our values and our identity. We should pay ourselves tribute by giving them the best process and welcome our country has to offer refugees. The White House and Republicans should uphold our values and pass this test.”

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