Letter to Senator Dianne Feinstein Letter to Senator Dianne Feinstein

US Senator Dianne Feinstein
11111 Santa Monica Boulevard, Suite 915
Los Angeles, CA 90025

September 9, 2014

Dear Senator Feinstein:

We, representatives of immigrant, civil and human rights organizations, faith-based organizations, unions and grassroots organizations, urge you to reaffirm your leadership to ensure that the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008 (TVPRA) is not revoked or amended.

We are deeply concerned that President Obama’s call to amend the TVPRA and his measure to expedite deportations of unaccompanied minor children will override the protections contained in the bipartisanly passed TVPRA that you co-authored into law.

In passing the TVPRA, Congress took into consideration the special circumstances of children. The law includes protections such as the provision of legal advice and the appointment of advocates to ensure that children receive adequate protection and that their request for asylum and other types of legal relief are processed fairly, in a way that is appropriate to their needs. your age and your needs.

As they stand, the proposals appear to jeopardize existing legal protections, putting the lives of children seeking safety in the United States at risk.

By weakening due process and equal protection under the law, it is not the answer to the crisis of unaccompanied Central American migrant children arriving at the US-Mexico border. This measure is also not going to calm the criticism of those who have been calling for a more punitive and aggressive tightening of the law.

We are extremely concerned about the due process violation by the self-styled “rocket docket” directive, which puts these children’s cases above other immigrants, gives attorneys only three weeks to prepare cases that would normally take until a year and denies children time to receive basic legal advice, a critical need given the magnitude of trauma children have suffered. We believe that the expedited handling of these cases is in fact denying due process to both the children and other migrants who are following the law but whose cases are delayed due to this tactic.

In this regard, we are equally concerned about the expedited removal of unaccompanied children from Mexico as they too are facing situations similar to those of minors fleeing Central America.

We urge you to consider revising the procedure that allows for a cursory background check as it has already been proven to be inadequate to identify genuine claims by Mexican children seeking refuge.

The cost of pushing vulnerable children back into a situation of imminent death is simply too high and our nation cannot question the fundamental principles of compassion, justice and due process, nor can we ignore our obligations under the agreements international protection of the human rights of refugees.

Now is the time for the United States to demonstrate its international leadership as well as its commitment to refugee protection and due process. We oppose any plan to modify the TVPRA that weakens the protections afforded to children in Central America, and we urge you to urge Congress to ensure that the rights and safety of these children are guaranteed.

To be honest

Salvadoran National Network Abroad (RENASE)
Central American Resource Center (CARECEN)
Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA)
CLEAN Carwash Campaign
Esperanza Immigrant Rights Project
Indigenous Front of Binational Organizations (FIOB)
Transnational Mexican Brotherhood
Youth, Inc.
Network Mexican Leaders and Migrant Organizations (Red MX)
Salvadoran American Leadership & Educational Fund (SALEF)
First of April Movement