The tragedy after Fuego’s violent eruption on Sunday continues to unfold. Rescue teams have abandoned search efforts and families are now facing a psychological crisis as their hopes of finding their loved ones fade. At least 99 have been killed and dozens are still missing. There are more than 4,000 people accomodated in 21 temporary shelters out of more than 12,000 who have been evacuated. Esbin, age 3, Guatemala. Photo Credit: Save the Children Guatemala.

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: ‘Using Children as Pawns to Deter Immigration is Unconscionable’

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

FAIRFIELD, Conn. (September 7, 2018) — In response to the federal government proposing new regulations that would greatly diminish protections for migrant children as outlined in the 1997 Flores Settlement Agreement, Carolyn Miles, President and CEO of Save the Children, issued the following statement:

Using children as pawns to deter immigration is unconscionable. Save the Children believes that the prolonged detention of children -- the most vulnerable in this crisis – is inhumane and unacceptable, even if they remain with their parents. The proposed changes to the Flores Settlement Agreement would allow for long-term detention of families, pending immigration proceedings, a process that often takes years to complete. The proposed changes are cast as being in the best interest of the children involved, but that is far from the truth – every minute a child is held in detention can cause irreparable harm.

We know, from our nearly 100 years of protecting the world’s children, that family detention has significant adverse effects on a child’s development and psychosocial well-being, which ultimately results in the loss of childhood. Family Case Management is just one alternative to detention that is much more humane and far more cost-effective. Plus, families in case management programs appeared for court proceedings and other monitoring visits at a rate of 99 percent, demonstrating the program’s success.

We need to call this proposed regulation change what it is – an attempt to deter children and families seeking safety from coming to the United States. America has always been a beacon of hope, welcoming the world’s people for nearly 250 years. Seeking asylum is not a crime. We cannot allow the federal government to use children as pawns in the battle for immigration reform. As a nation, we are better than this.

During this open call for comment on the proposed regulations, we encourage everyone to speak out against these changes, which would only make one thing certain – the continued traumatization of already traumatized children. Visit SavetheChildrenActionNetwork.org and make your voice heard. As an organization, Save the Children will continue to urge the President, the Administration and Members of Congress to do the right thing for children and uphold the decades-long protections provided by the Flores Settlement Agreement. Children deserve better.

Save the Children gives children in the United States and around the world a healthy start, the opportunity to learn and protection from harm. We invest in childhood — every day, in times of crisis and for our future. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

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