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To U.S. Presidential Candidates: How to Address the Plight of Children, Women, and Men Fleeing the Northern Triangle of Central America

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Date: Jul 26, 2019

Authors: Lisa Haugaard, Daniella Burgi-Palomino

A Few Do’s and Don’ts

Do…

  • Understand that this is a refugee crisis;
  • Pledge aid—but not just any aid. U.S. taxpayer dollars should not line the pockets of corrupt government officials in Central America—or anywhere else. Instead, make sure our money helps address the roots of the crisis. This means funding programs to prevent violence in communities and schools, improve justice, provide at-risk youth with opportunities, address gender-based violence, and help poor farmers adapt to climate change;
  • Call for immediate action by Central American governments (we’re looking at you, Honduras and Guatemala) to address corruption and cooperate with international anti-corruption agencies—otherwise, you’re just pouring water into a sieve;
  • Urge immediate action by governments to protect human rights and end abuses by police and military forces—and enforce this as a condition for them to receive U.S. aid;
  • Fly the rainbow flag: LGBTQ+ Central Americans face high levels of discrimination and violence; and
  • Stand up for valiant human rights defenders, environmental activists, union leaders, and journalists at risk: the best way the United States can help is by supporting these Central American civic leaders crusading for change.

Don’t…

  • Fund security forces that are attacking and killing protesters and committing other abuses. Never encourage the use of military troops for law enforcement;
  • Block access to asylum for Central Americans fleeing violence—many really are running for their lives and they have a right to seek protection where they feel safe;
  • Allow Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to end for some 300,000 Salvadorans and Hondurans—this will just pour fuel on the fire. Instead, provide these members of our communities with a path to citizenship;
  • Pretend that Guatemala or Mexico are safe places for asylum-seekers; or
  • Demand that governments prevent their citizens from fleeing: They can’t, and under international law, it’s illegal. Instead of telling Central American governments to block their citizens from leaving, urge those governments to protect and serve their citizens so that they are able to stay.

For more details, see these Recommendations for U.S. Engagement to Address the Root Causes of Migration from the Northern Triangle of Central America and other information at www.lawg.org.

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