WASHINGTON, DC—Representative Eliot L. Engel, the leading Democrat on the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, today made the following statement on a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report he commissioned on the root causes of migration from Central America to the United States:
“The GAO report released today reinforces the need for Congress to fully fund President Obama’s $1.1 billion request to address the root causes of child migration from Central America to the United States. It’s no surprise that the report found violence and economic concerns as the main factors driving unaccompanied children to migrate from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras 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. In designing these programs, Congress and the Obama Administration must ensure that resources are targeted toward the most vulnerable communities from which children are migrating. As Congress struggles to fund the Department of Homeland Security, I think we can all agree that investing in the root causes of migration to the United States will save lives and decrease the Department’s financial burden in the long term.”
Representatives Albio Sires, Chris Smith, Joaquin Castro, and Sean Duffy joined Rep. Engel in requesting the report. Representative Engel has asked GAO to prepare a more extensive study on the extent to which the U.S. government is targeting foreign assistance towards the communities from which children are migrating in Central America. That report is forthcoming.