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Protect children and families who must flee to safety

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Last year, national headlines shed light on the increased numbers of unaccompanied children and families fleeing Central America and arriving in the United States. Many of those forced to flee left their communities after becoming targets for violence and persecution. The Senate and House of Representatives are considering funding that will determine how the U.S. Government should invest in addressing the migration of vulnerable children and families from Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras, including their treatment in Mexico. In a study conducted by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to learn why children who arrive in the United States are displaced from the Northern Triangle of Central America and Mexico, 58% of children interviewed were potentially in need of international protection. Due to an increase in border security and apprehensions of migrants in Mexico, the need to protect our vulnerable brothers and sisters extends well outside of the U.S. The UNHCR also reported that asylum applications of people from the Northern Triangle have increased by more than a thousand percent in countries other than the U.S. As a nation that so often stands for the protection of the most vulnerable, we must make sure that our investments in Mexico and Central America's Northern Triangle region actually protect children and families who must flee dangerous situations. We also cannot continue to assist sending children back to places where they may be harmed. Please join ELCA Advocacy today in speaking out in support of protecting the most vulnerable among us. Urge your Member of Congress to invest in the most vulnerable people from Central American assistance plan now! Call on Congress to: 1. Ensure any investment in training law enforcement and border security personnel also focuses on training for identifying trafficking and international protection needs; 2. Fund repatriation services and follow up with unaccompanied children returned from the U.S. and Mexico, where most children are being repatriated from today; 3. Invest in poverty, education and protecting the human rights of Central Americans; and 4. Reject any funding that conditions money on increasing border security or stopping children and families at all costs.