Children’s Asylum Resolution
A. Whereas nearly 70,000 children are expected to show up alone at our border this year, driven violently out of their countries and with their government not willing or able to protect them,
B. Whereas our laws have clear precedents for this humanitarian crisis and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees recommends to designate most of the Central Americans fleeing regional violence and gang extortion as refugees,
C. Whereas we receive mounting evidence that these children are escaping Honduras, El Salvador and parts of Guatemala to save their lives, to prevent becoming sex slaves or being forcefully recruited to join drug gangs and become murderers themselves,
D. Whereas 400 personal interviews of 1 hour each that where conducted on the children by the UN Agency of Refugees have revealed that 58% of them have received specific death threats, often by gangs leaving body parts in front of their houses, which have urged their parents to pool their meager resources and send them on their dangerous journey North rather than face certain death at home,
E. Whereas gang violence qualifies as grounds for international protection and the US has granted many claims to children with attorneys requesting asylum, therefore we have a proven legal framework to handle these cases,
F. Whereas the scale of this humanitarian challenge pales in comparison to the 2 million+ Syrian refugees, with 700,000 of them received by Turkey alone, after we encouraged them to do so even when they have a country 12 times smaller than we do and are already 7 times as crowded (per square kilometer, Turkey has 94 people and our United States only 13),
G. Whereas this crisis is regional, it requires a concerted effort by the US to coordinate a unified response with other countries in the region, Mexico, Belize, Costa Rica, Panama, therefore the burden of future migrations can be shared in the region,
H. Whereas this call for help can galvanize the compassion of communities all over the US, with families offering loving homes and schools as the children wait for the courts to decide their future,
Therefore the Board of Directors of the Mt. Diablo Peace and Justice Center of Walnut Creek, California resolves:
1. To encourage our Immigration Authorities to expedite the processing of these young asylum seekers so they can be eligible to be hosted by their relatives and by volunteer American families as they wait for their court date.
2. To encourage our State Department to set up safe houses and processing centers within Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala to pre-qualify them, as we have done in the past in Vietnam and Haiti, giving high priority to those who have been already targeted by the criminal gangs.
3. To encourage our Government to coordinate their efforts with neighboring countries, for example giving preference to a host country where children already have relatives or friends willing to host them.
4. To encourage our political leaders and fellow Americans to extend compassion towards these innocent children, while embracing the promise represented by each one of them.
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