Lofgren, Roybal-Allard & Gutiérrez Statement on Central American Refugee Screening and Resettlement

January 14, 2016
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Reps. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-Calif.), and Luis V. Gutiérrez (D-Ill.) issued the following statement regarding refugee screening and resettlement for El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala:

"The Administration's recently announced recognition that many Central Americans qualify as refugees under international law is an important and constructive step towards a comprehensive regional refugee solution to address violence in the Central American region.

"Our partnership with UNHCR and other non-governmental organizations with expertise in international refugee protection will help provide critical guidance regarding best practices for refugee care and management.  We are cautiously optimistic that the use of third-country temporary processing centers will provide protection for those who are unable to remain in their home country during the refugee processing period.  

"However, we do not believe that this Central American refugee resettlement program should be used as justification to deny or deter refugees from seeking asylum protection under our immigration laws here in the United States.  On Tuesday, 146 House Democrats signed a letter urging the President to immediately suspend deportation raids targeting Central American refugee mothers and children. We are concerned that many of these families did not receive adequate due process and some may have already been deported to countries where they will face persecution, torture or death.  We do not believe that these deportation and deterrent tactics will dissuade desperate mothers and children from fleeing for their lives.

"The U.S. must continue to be a beacon of safety and refuge for those seeking protection from persecution. This new Central American refugee program should be an expansion of our efforts to provide refuge – not a substitute for our existing asylum process."  

# # #

Issues: