PRESS RELEASE
INTERFAITH DELEGATION TRAVELS TO CENTRAL AMERICA
SEEKING ANSWERS ABOUT FORCED MIGRATION
This evening a national fact-finding delegation of 16 interfaith leaders will travel to Honduras and Guatemala to investigate the ongoing humanitarian crisis of children and families fleeing Central America.  As Congress considers funding a proposed US$1 billion  Alliance for Prosperity initiative in Central America, the  numbers of youth and families fleeing in 2015 continue to soar as underlying causes have not been addressed.
The group will spend two weeks in Honduras and Guatemala, meeting with migrant community groups, human rights organizations, and religious leaders about the reality of forced migration.  The group will meet with those who have been deported back to the region, including Pastor Max Villatoro, a father of 4 US citizen children and long-time US resident, who was deported back to Honduras in March of this year.  They will meet organizations and relatives of migrants from Honduras and Guatemala who have disappeared while migrating and visit faith organizations serving them.
” I am saddened that many of our political leaders continue to find new ways to blame and bash immigrant communities instead of finding real solutions to the broken immigration system. The real solutions that we need must include understanding the root causes of migration,” says, Bill Mefford, Director of Civil and Human Rights of the United Methodist Church’s General Board of Church and Society (GBCS) who will be on the delegation.
Also traveling with the group, United Church of Christ pastor, Rev. Deborah Lee, of the Interfaith Movement for Human Integrity (IM4HI), says, “We are concerned that US immigration policies and military funding to the region, including Mexico for border enforcement, may be exacerbating an already tragic human rights situation. We want to find out firsthand from those impacted and hear their solutions to root causes.”
The group will return on August 17th and will be holding a press conference at the SFO  International Terminal  at 8:15 pm.
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