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Catholic Charities Fact-Finding Mission Touches Down in Northern Triangle

Posted on April 23, 2019 by Alice Kenny  |  Share

Meets Migrants & Officials in Front Lines of Refugee Crisis

Touching down in Honduras’ Toncontin Airport in the heart of Central America’s Northern Triangle, Catholic Charities Executive Director Msgr. Kevin Sullivan and fellow members of his five-day fact-finding mission met yesterday with key representatives from the United Nations, the U.S. Embassy and the Catholic Church.  Their goal is to suss out causes and seek solutions to the refugee crisis that spurred more than 3,000 people to flee to New York from this area, Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala, last year alone, with another 8,000 expected this year.  Extortion, violence and poverty are often held responsible.  But additional causes, including climate change that destroys coast lines, farmland and local economies, may be contributing as well, say some of the experts with whom the group is meeting.

“A small group of us (went) to learn more and raise awareness about the factors in these countries that are pushing so many youth and families to seek refuge and opportunity the Unite States,” Msgr. Sullivan said.  “Please keep our mission in your prayers.”

Joining Msgr. Sullivan are New York State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli and President of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU) Stewart Appelbaum, along with two Catholic Charities staff members, Luz Tavarez and Fanny Gomez.

Whirlwind Mission Covers Pressing Issues: Meets Those Most Likely to Offer Answers

The delegation will catch another plane to El Salvador tomorrow, Wednesday, April 24, to visit Catholic Relief Services’ agriculture programming to better understand how climate change and other factors push rural families to migrate.  Next they will meet with Cofamile, an organization that supports families with relatives who died or disappeared when migrating to the U.S.

In addition, they plan to speak face-to-face with representatives from the “Con Migrantes” (With Migrants.) Also on the agenda is a visit with migrants served at a local reception center.  There the delegation hopes to get a better understanding about issues these fleeing people face involving safe transit, migrant caravans and how migrants are received when U.S. authorities deport them back to their native land.

Finally, before flying back to New York on Friday, April 26, the group plans to meet with representatives from the Guatemalan government, international organizations and the Catholic Church in Guatemala.  There they will discuss not only the causes and risks of migration but how investment within Guatemala could counteract people’s belief that they need to flee to find safety and jobs.

Special Live Coverage

PIX11, Tribune Broadcasting’s New York flagship station, deemed the mission so important they embedded one of their top on-air reporters and a cameraman to issue special live coverage, Trapped in the Triangle, all week.

“The story of migration from Central America is one of profound complexity,” said News and Content Director Vickie Burns in a PIX11 story about the mission. “It’s about people not politics.”

And, as Msgr. Sullivan requested, please keep this mission in your prayers.