WASHINGTON, DC—Representative Eliot L. Engel, the top Democrat on the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, today delivered the following statement for the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission briefing on migration in Honduras:
“I want to thank Chairman McGovern and the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission for holding this crucial briefing. As a father, my heart goes out to all the children making the perilous journey from Central America to the United States. While the number of children entering the United States has decreased, the root causes of migration from the Northern Triangle countries of Central America persist. I firmly believe that cracking down on children through harsher enforcement is not the answer. Instead, the United States must invest in social and economic development throughout Central America.
“I commissioned a report from the Government Accountability Office that was released in July. The report made it clear that Congress will get lots of bang for our buck by fully funding President Obama’s $1.1 billion request to address the root causes of migration from Central America to the United States. Congress must invest in long-term solutions focused on economic development and opportunity for younger populations, so that no child is forced to make the perilous journey from Central America through Mexico to our southern border.
“Children are leaving Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala because of violence and a lack of opportunity at home. That’s why we need to invest in opportunity for younger populations. At the same time, we need to ensure that USAID funding is targeted to the communities from which children are migrating and provide resources for reintegration programs that give returnees the opportunities they deserve.
“Finally, I am pleased that this Commission is focusing on the human rights of migrants fleeing difficult conditions in Honduras and throughout Central America. I believe we must do all we can to protect these individuals and make sure their human rights are respected.
“Thank you again for holding this briefing.”