Children like Esbin from Guatemala are benefiting from Save the Children’s ongoing and emergency response programs. Save the Children Guatemala, June 2018.

Save the Children CEO: ‘Further Militarizing the U.S.-Mexico Border and Blocking Access to Asylum for Families Fleeing Violence Has Potential to Increase Fear & Trauma for Children’

Statement from Carolyn Miles, President & CEO, Save the Children

FAIRFIELD, Conn. (October 30, 2018) In response to the ongoing treatment and potential future actions against children at and migrating to the U.S.-Mexico border, Carolyn Miles, President and CEO of Save the Children, issued the following statement:

Save the Children cannot and will not remain silent about the United States government’s treatment of children and families migrating from Central American nations. There are already more than 13,000 unaccompanied children being held by the U.S. government in the United States and we need to ensure new arrivals are treated humanely.

Seeking asylum is not a crime and using children as pawns to deter immigration is unconscionable. Save the Children upholds the rights of children and opposes both family separation and detention, as these practices are harmful and destructive to a child’s well-being.

The migrant caravan includes hundreds of vulnerable children. Further militarizing the U.S.-Mexico border and blocking access to asylum for families fleeing violence has the potential to increase fear and trauma for these children who have already undergone an exhausting journey. Every step of the way, we urge the Administration to uphold and provide the protection of all vulnerable children and families.

Any changes that erode protection for children provided by the 1997 Flores Settlement Agreement can be damaging to children. During the current open call for comment on regulations that would allow for the indefinite detention of children and families, we’re encouraging everyone to speak out against the proposed changes. One thing is certain. Under the proposed changes, already traumatized children would be traumatized again.

History will judge how we respond right now. We have a choice. Will we embrace and protect traumatized, vulnerable children or put soldiers and Cortina wire between them and a chance at safety? Providing asylum to children who need it is our obligation under the law, as allies, and as human beings.

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