AILA Welcomes Senate Introduction of the Secure the Northern Triangle Act

George Tzamaras
Belle Woods

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) welcomes yesterday's introduction in the Senate of the Secure the Northern Triangle Act, S.B. 3106, a bill designed to provide a coordinated plan to manage the humanitarian crisis in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras and to improve access to asylum and other protections for those fleeing violence in the region.

AILA President William Stock commented, "The 'Secure the Northern Triangle Act' is a positive first step by congressional leaders to address the ongoing violence and root causes of violence in Central America that is driving migration out of that region. Within the Northern Triangle, the bill will strengthen humanitarian protections, expand in-country refugee processing by the UN refugee agency, and target the smuggling networks that prey on this vulnerable population. The bill also takes initial steps to address failures in the U.S. legal system and procedures for protecting asylum seekers at our border."

Stock continued, "Over the past two years, and most recently through the CARA Pro Bono Project, AILA members have represented thousands of bona fide asylum seekers first in Artesia, New Mexico, and now in Dilley, Texas. The stories of violence in the Northern Triangle that the women and children have shared with our volunteer members are heartbreaking, and shed light on the truly deplorable conditions that are forcing these families to leave their homes. We hope that this bill will help families apply for refugee status in the region so that they don't have to make the dangerous journey north."

AILA Executive Director Benjamin Johnson added, "While this bill includes important measures like access to counsel and legal orientation programs and modest reforms to the immigration courts that are a step in the right direction, it does not include provisions to end family detention or address the very serious due process failures in our current system. In particular, the United States should ensure that every person receive a fair and impartial hearing before a judge before being removed, but in our current system less than one in five people who are removed ever get a fair day in court. That's absolutely unfair, and Congress should reform these procedures. Recognizing that no single bill can fix everything, AILA commends the leadership these senators have shown by introducing S.B. 3106."

The American Immigration Lawyers Association is the national association of immigration lawyers established to promote justice, advocate for fair and reasonable immigration law and policy, advance the quality of immigration and nationality law and practice, and enhance the professional development of its members.

Cite as AILA Doc. No. 16062933.