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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE  

June 26, 2014

Statement from HACU President and CEO Antonio R. Flores on humanitarian crisis driving unaccompanied youth to the U.S.

The Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU) President and CEO Antonio R. Flores has issued the following statement on the humanitarian crisis driving tens of thousands of Hispanic children and youth from south of the border to the U.S. and urges action both by their countries of origin and by the United States.

"People migrate primarily for economic reasons but also to escape violence and social instability. Often these conditions occur simultaneously. If the countries of origin of the families of these children do not offer hope and real opportunities to improve their lives and also fail to protect them from the violence engendered by poverty, income inequality and corruption, the most vulnerable will continue to risk their lives to come to this nation of immigrants. Many of these children and youth are also motivated to reunite with parents or other relatives in the U.S. The current wave of immigration of children must be addressed both by the U.S. and by their countries of origin."

"Education is a major avenue for countries to overcome the conditions that impel so many of their youth to emigrate. The more educated their emerging generations become, the less likely they are to engage in criminal activities and the greater their chances of employment and higher earnings. This is true of any nation. A better educated citizenry is also better equipped to hold corrupt officials accountable. Improved higher education institutions can promote a more efficient and effective judicial system so that impunity for corrupt practices is not the norm."

"The best investment the U.S. can make in these countries is not in expensive military hardware but in creating educational opportunities for the millions of youth who today have no means of attaining postsecondary education or training, including opportunities to study in our country. New generations of well-educated leaders can emerge to reshape their countries’ vision for a more prosperous and just future if empowered by education."

"While the strategic value of education to alleviate the conditions that lead to involuntary immigration is undeniable, the current crisis requires immediate comprehensive and coordinated action to protect the physical and emotional integrity of youth crossing the border. Caring for the most vulnerable among us, especially for children, is one of our country’s most cherished and enduring values. We must not fail to uphold it in this instance."

About HACU
The Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU) represents more than 450 colleges and universities committed to Hispanic higher education success in the U.S., Puerto Rico, Latin America and Spain. HACU’s membership includes more than 50 universities throughout Latin America, the Caribbean, and the Iberian Peninsula, with universities in Mexico and Central America making up the vast majority of HACU’s international chapter. 

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Media Contacts:
Norma Jean Revilla-Garcia / Lupe Flores