USCCB-CRS Letter to Congress on the US-Northern Triangle Enhanced Engagement Act, June 24, 2019

Year Published
  • 2019
  • English

June 24, 2019

Dear Representative:

On behalf of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committees on International Justice and Peace and Migration, and Catholic Relief Services (CRS), we urge you to support the “United States-Northern Triangle Enhanced Engagement Act” (H.R. 2615). Introduced by Representatives Eliot Engel (D-NY), Michael McCaul (R-TX), Albio Sires (D-NJ), Francis Rooney (R-FL), Norma Torres (D-CA), Ann Wagner (R-MO), and Henry Cuellar (D-TX), this important bill authorizes $577 million to Central America to address root causes of migration, including violence, food insecurity, and lack of economic opportunity. The legislation also prevents funds from being reprogrammed, transferred, or rescinded. Furthermore, it requires the Secretary of State and U.S. Agency for International Development Administrator to prioritize inclusive economic growth and development, anticorruption, and strengthening democratic institutions and security conditions in the Northern Triangle countries of Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras.

The Church believes that people have the right to find opportunities in their home countries and that they have the right to migrate when conditions in their country of origin preclude them from providing for the safety and wellbeing of their families. The administration recently revoked foreign assistance to Central America, including poverty-reducing aid. We are concerned that an absence of U.S. investment and engagement will not only impede development, but also create a vacuum where poverty, instability, and migration will grow. We are encouraged that this bipartisan Congressional effort will uphold U.S. leadership and our steadfast commitment to the poor and vulnerable, so families can thrive without leaving home.

CRS, in partnership with the U.S. Government, the local church, and other civil society partners, implements youth development, water smart agriculture, education, health, and emergency response programs to promote prosperity and alleviate the push factors of migration. The United States-Northern Triangle Enhanced Engagement Act will ensure that poverty-reducing programs continue and that the U.S. effectively and humanely addresses violence, lack of protection and economic opportunity, and corruption in the Northern Triangle.

Thank you for your serious consideration to support the United States-Northern Triangle Enhanced Engagement Act. We look forward to working with you to address the root causes of migration and support just policies that promote human security, good governance, and communal prosperity.

Sincerely yours,

Most Reverend Timothy P. Broglio
Archbishop for the Military Services, USA
Chair, Committee on International Justice and Peace
U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops

Most Reverend Joe S. Vásquez
Bishop of Austin, Texas
Chair, Committee on Migration
U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops

Mr. Sean Callahan
President and CEO
Catholic Relief Services