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Secure the Northern Triangle Act

Providing a Coordinated Regional Response to Effectively Manage the Endemic Violence and
Humanitarian Crisis in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras
Senate Democrats have a plan to address the crisis that is forcing women, children, and families to flee
from the Northern Triangle of Central America. We must stabilize the violence that is driving the
migration, establish refugee processing in the region, and disrupt the smuggling networks that are
preying on vulnerable populations. We must also provide a fair and orderly process for reviewing the
humanitarian claims of those who reach the United States border seeking protection.
Congress must take up and pass the Secure the Northern Triangle Act, which includes a strong set of
actions that:
1. Condition assistance to Northern Triangle governments to address the root causes of the
violence and instability that are driving migration. El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras are
among the most dangerous countries in the world, especially for women and children. Their
populations face unrelenting and increasing violence, including murder and rape, perpetrated by
armed criminal gangs and drug traffickers that act with impunity. The Democrats bill provides
conditional assistance to these governments to restore the rule of law; create a more secure
environment for children and families; strengthen democratic public institutions and reduce
corruption; and promote economic opportunities. Assistance funding is conditioned on the State
Department certifying that the governments are implementing reforms and makings progress on
critical priorities.
2. Crack down on smugglers, cartels, and traffickers exploiting children and families.
Smuggling and trafficking rings exploit the desperation of those seeking protection. The Senate
Democrats bill creates new criminal penalties for human smuggling, schemes to defraud
immigrants, and bulk cash smuggling. It also expands the work by the Department of Homeland
Security and law enforcement agencies to disrupt and prosecute smuggling and trafficking rings.
3. Minimize border crossings by expanding refugee processing in the region. Ongoing, rampant
violence in the region suggests that women and children will continue to flee to other countries in
search of protection. The Senate Democrats bill helps Mexico and other Central American
countries to strengthen their own asylum systems, expands refugee processing for third-country
resettlement and expands the Central American Minors program to provide women and children an
alternative to making the dangerous journey north.
4. Enhance monitoring of unaccompanied children after they are processed at the border. The
U.S. government lacks the resources to track unaccompanied children after they are processed by
Border Patrol and are placed with a sponsor, usually a close family member. The Senate
Democrats bill strengthens the Department of Health and Human Services ability to oversee the
safety and wellbeing of children released to an adult sponsor while they await their court hearing
by requiring consistent, uniform and timely background checks, post-placement wellness checks
and post-release services. The bill also provides resources and guidance to local school districts
enrolling unaccompanied children.
5. Ensure fair, orderly and efficient processing of those who do reach our border seeking
protection. The United States has a long tradition of standing up for refugees around the world
and we have the capacity and responsibility to do so now with those fleeing increasing violence in
our own hemisphere. The Senate Democrats bill provides a fair legal process for children and
families seeking asylum, improves immigration court efficiencies by requiring a significant
increase in the number of immigration judges to ensure the prompt resolution of immigration
claims, and establishes re-integration programs in the region that reduce the likelihood of remigration for those who do not have legal grounds to stay in the United States.