Letter on Unaccompanied Children Along the Southern Border

April 27, 2021

The Hon. Nanette Barragan Chairwoman
U.S House of Representatives Subcommittee on Border Security, Facilitation, and Operations

The Hon. Clay Higgins
Ranking Member
U.S House of Representatives Subcommittee on Border Security, Facilitation, and Operations

Dear Chairwoman Barragan and Ranking Member Higgins,

I write on behalf of Catholic Charities USA (CCUSA), the national office for 167 Catholic Charities agencies across the country and the U.S. territories, to express our appreciation for the opportunity to submit our written statement for the record about unaccompanied children along the southern border.

Our border agencies are actively working to assist all migrants along the southern border, including families and unaccompanied children. We are in regular communication with federal agencies to identify services our network of agencies can provide to meet the needs of these children. Last year, Catholic Charities agencies provided over 160,000 migrants with shelter and respite care. We have over 100 years of experience serving and responding to the needs of newcomers. Each day Catholic Charities agencies witness firsthand both the unique hardships faced by migrant communities and the incredible contributions they continue to make to our country.

We are encouraged to hear policy discussions and a renewed focus on the root causes of migration. Our agencies hear incredible stories of struggles from the migrants we serve. They have been forced to leave their homelands due to a range of perilous issues: devastating hurricanes that destroyed entire villages, caused crop failures and washed away homes; gang violence that is a constant threat to daily life; and high levels of poverty. Many arrive at our border as a means of survival. Hearing of the root causes that compel families to make the difficult decision of sending their children to our country in the hope that they may reunite with family members simply to survive should cause all Americans to pause and contemplate such a decision. Their situation could not be more dire. CCUSA urges Congress, the Administration, and Homeland Security agencies to treat all migrants humanely when arriving in the U.S. and along our borders. We also encourage serious debate on comprehensive immigration reform for a more just and humane immigration system.

CCUSA stands ready to work with Congress in support of just immigration policies and will continue in our ministry of assisting those in need.

Sincerely,

Sister Donna Markham OP, PhD President & CEO

Advocacy & Social Policy Initiatives

CCUSA's Advocacy and Social Policy team advocates for policies that uphold human dignity and promote integral human development. Informed by the experience of local Catholic Charities agencies, the team urges policy makers to encounter the needy and vulnerable in their communities and to create policies which assist and support them.

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