Evangelical Groups to Boehner & Republicans: Do Not Undermine Protections
House Republicans are talking out of both sides of their mouth this week. On Wednesday, the GOP will bring eight human trafficking suspension bills to the floor – mostly good legislation, but with little or no direct impact on the refugees and children at our borders – and they will use those bills as cover for their real effort to undermine critical protections afforded to women and children in the William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act (TVPRA) of 2008, a bipartisan bill signed by President George W. Bush.
A prominent group of evangelicals sent a letter to Speaker Boehner and Members of Congress urging them to strengthen, not undermine these protections:
Children are vulnerable even in the best of circumstances and warrant special protection beyond that offered to adults. This vulnerability is compounded among children who flee situations of criminal gangs, sexual violence, trauma and extreme poverty, without their parents to accompany them…As our nation responds to this humanitarian crisis, we are thankful for laws that protect children and provide for their needs. While our systems are currently stretched, our laws uphold basic child protection principles.
…By making the legal process clearer and more efficient for children, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops found that since the passage and implementation of TVPRA 23% more children were assisted. The TVPRA is working according to its design. It should not be changed to address the current temporary situation. The law allows for responses to exceptional circumstances.
…we urge you to provide the necessary resources and policy guidance to address the current crisis…More funding is needed. There should also be increased funding for immigration courts and judges to more quickly screen the children and counsel for children going through legal proceedings so they know their rights and can understand the process. More robust investment in effectively addressing root causes of migration in Central America and Mexico is also imperative.
We hope that any response you make will strengthen our country’s tradition of providing safety and refuge to the vulnerable.
Speaker Boehner, we must honor the values of our nation. It’s time to pass the supplemental funding request in order to address the humanitarian crisis on our border.