I write to update you about LIRS’s serious concern for newly arrived refugees, vulnerable migrant children and the communities who walk with them. Without congressional action by January 15, our nation’s ability to provide a long and robust welcome to those fleeing persecution will be sorely diminished.
Growing instability in Central America and diminished government protection has led to a dramatic spike in the number of migrants fleeing the region. These unfortunate circumstances have caused anunprecedented number of unaccompanied children to flee to escape extortion, killings, forced recruitment into gangs, and generalized violence. Each month, thousands of these children cross the U.S.-Mexico border alone seeking safety. They are at special risk for abuse, exploitation, and trafficking during their journey and after arriving in the United States.
To keep all unaccompanied migrant children safe once they arrive within our borders as they navigate the U.S. immigration system, the Department of Health and Human Service’s Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) is in urgent need of additional funding.
In addition to providing for unaccompanied children, ORR also invests in the employment, education and health of many vulnerable migrants such as newly arrived refugees, asylees, survivors of human trafficking and torture, Cuban-Haitian entrants, and Iraqi and Afghan Special Immigrant Visa holders. Without additional funding from Congress, these vulnerable populations would experience diminished support.
Please join LIRS in calling your members of Congress through the Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 and urging them to support robust funding to serve unaccompanied migrant children and refugees. You can also take action online through the LIRS Action Center.
Thank you for standing on the side of welcome for those in urgent need.
LIRS Director for Advocacy
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