A New Bill In The Fight Against Violence: Introducing The Central American Women And Children Protection Act Of 2019
For the past year, IJM’s Washington team has been in dialogue with legislators for the past year about increasing protection in Central America for vulnerable women and children. And now, after months of conversation, we are seeing progress towards relief for people suffering in the Northern Triangle region through new legislation in Congress.
In May, Republican and Democratic lawmakers in the House and Senate introduced a new bill, the Central American Women and Children Protection Act: H.R. 2836 in the House and S. 1781 in the Senate. We are thrilled that our dream of a new funding stream to build capacity to deter violence against women and children and bring perpetrators to justice is becoming a reality.
While immigration has been a very divisive issue in American politics, it appears that lawmakers are nonetheless ready and willing to work together on some of the “push factors” that contribute to the large numbers of Central Americans crossing into the United States.
Excitingly, the House has already passed this bill as an amendment to a larger piece of legislation (United States-Northern Triangle Enhanced Engagement Act). On July 15, this bill passed the House of Representatives unanimously. Just months after the start of this legislative campaign, we are seeing momentum build in Congress and we are hoping to see something similar take place in the Senate in the late summer and fall of 2019.
A few highlights of the legislation appear below.
The bill authorizes the Secretary of State to enter into agreements with the governments of El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras to be known as “Women and Children Protection Compacts.”
- The Senate bill authorizes $10 million per year over the next 3 years and the House bill authorizes $20 million for the same time period.
- This legislation will make significant change possible in the fight against violence in the Northern Triangle.
- Deterring migration by making homes and communities safer
- Increasing safe access by women and child survivors of violence to aftercare services
- Enhancing the performance, will and capacity of justice system officials to respond to crimes of violence against vulnerable people.