Letter to the Editor

Central American women's asylum

Friday, March 22, 2019

In your March 16 article, "Trump vetoes rebuke of border order," we read that our president continues to focus on building a U.S.-Mexico border wall rather than addressing the reasons why migrants come in the first place. Violence from gangs and family members, entrenched poverty and rampant hunger are forcing many -- mostly families -- to flee Central America. This includes many women and girls forced to leave their homes in search of what we all seek: safety and a chance at a meaningful life.

As a woman and former Missouri Secretary of State, I stand with migrant women in their quest to live free from violence. On March 7, I was in Washington, D.C., advocating for the rights of women and girls in Central America in commemoration of International Women's Day. A woman is killed every 16 hours in Honduras and every 19 hours in El Salvador, the highest rates of femicide in the world. As a country, we must find ways to protect women and girls from violence in their home countries and offer them safety and the right to seek asylum in our country. Currently, we spend only $12 million a year in these countries to reduce violence there. Surely, we can ask our government to do more to reduce the need for so many people to seek asylum here. Please contact your representatives in Washington to ask them to increase our efforts in these countries. There will be less people at the border if we do.

BEKKI COOK, Santa Fe, New Mexico