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National Leaders Call Upon Congress to Meet Legal and Moral Obligations to Unaccompanied Central American Children and Families

43 Organizations Across the Country Sign Letter to Congress Urging It to Meet Immediate Needs and Address Underlying Causes of Migration

SEATTLE, WA--(Marketwired - July 23, 2014) - SIF letter

The Seattle International Foundation and 42 other national groups published an open letter to Congress on Wednesday, urging members to meet our moral and legal obligations to ensure that the thousands of Central American children and families who have been apprehended and detained at the border are treated humanely and provided all due protections under current law.

The open letter was printed in The Hill on July 23, and its signers include the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA), World Vision, the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice & Human Rights, and the National Immigration Law Center. It encouraged policymakers to provide sufficient resources to evaluate each case to determine if there are legitimate grounds for asylum, or other forms of humanitarian relief.

"It's clearly time for our policymakers to focus on our hemisphere and make smarter, more effective investments in the region that address the root causes driving immigration from Central America," said Mauricio Vivero, CEO of the Seattle International Foundation, which provides grants to organizations working to reduce poverty in Central America.

The letter also called on Congress to support effective policies and investment in Central America that will stabilize the region, provide more accountable justice and policing systems, and develop more educational and training opportunities for young people.

From the letter: "As Congress considers the supplemental request, it is essential that border militarization and deporting vulnerable children not be prioritized above humanitarian needs and legal obligations. This is a complex crisis and human tragedy that demands a response to both immediate needs and longstanding causes. We call on policymakers to support the humane treatment of these children and families and ensure their legal claims are evaluated fairly. We encourage Congress to address the root causes by investing in violence prevention, criminal justice reform, and development that will help stabilize communities and expand opportunities for the young people of Central America."

You can find the complete letter here.

The Seattle International Foundation supports poverty alleviation efforts through grant-making and other activities, with a strategic focus on Central America. SIF has awarded more than $8 million in grants to NGOs working in the region. www.seaif.org

The following files are available for download:

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