WASHINGTON--Bishop Eusebio Elizondo, auxiliary bishop of Seattle and chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' (USCCB) Committee on Migration, and Bishop Anthony Taylor of Little Rock, Arkansas, a member of the Committee, will travel to San Salvador, El Salvador, May 19-22, to discuss migration issues with bishops from Central America and Mexico.
This year's annual meeting will focus on the rise of the number of unaccompanied children migrating to the United States and what steps can be taken to protect them, both in their home countries and along the migration journey.
"It is clear that violence perpetrated by gangs and organized crime in parts of Central America is a contributing factor to the large number of children fleeing," said Bishop Elizondo. "Steps must be taken to protect these children and to ensure their well-being in their communities."
In November, a delegation from the USCCB Committee on Migration traveled to Central America to look at the issues surrounding the migration of children. The delegation's report, "Mission to Central America: The Flight of Unaccompanied Children to the United States" and their recommendations, can be found at www.usccb.org/about/migration-policy/upload/Mission-To-Central-America-FINAL-2.pdf
"Over the long-term, the U.S. government must work with governments in the region to bolster protection mechanisms for these youth, who constantly live in fear and are devoid of educational and employment opportunities," Bishop Elizondo said. "In many ways, this is not simply a migration issue, but also one that touches upon foreign policy and assisting these countries to protect their citizens, especially the most vulnerable."