Rep. Jim McGovern, protesting outside a meeting between President Trump and GOP Congressional members in June. (ALEX EDELMAN/AFP/Getty Images)
WORCESTER (WBZ-AM) -- Two Bay State politicians are thousands of miles from home in Central America this week.
Worcester Rep. Jim McGovern and Somerville Mayor Joe Curtatone, joined by representatives from human rights groups, are spending time in Honduras and El Salvador for part of this week on a fact-finding mission. They're hoping to gather information that will convince Congress to block the Trump administration from ending Temporary Protective Status for migrants.
Hondurans received that status back in 1999 after a hurricane hit. Two years later, Salvadorans were granted the status after two earthquakes. This week, McGovern told WBZ NewsRadio 1030's Nichole Davis that nearly 300,000 migrants from these areas could be forced to go back to those countries in about a year.
"They've been here for 20 years," he said. "Many of them have gotten married. They have children. They own homes. They have businesses. They are valued members of our community."
Meeting with organizations that work with migrants and listening to the tragic and sad stories of families of migrants who have been deported or disappeared as well as survivors and victims of violence. https://t.co/adkycYVCsM— Joseph A. Curtatone (@JoeCurtatone) August 13, 2018
McGovern said he made the trip "quite frankly to get a sense of what the reality is." He says there's a lot of discussion about migrants' treatment at the US border by the Trump administration, but not much talk about why they're making the trip to the United States in the first place.
He plans to meet one-on-one with residents in those countries this week to talk about gang violence and other dangers they face every day. Officials say living conditions and crime have improved over the past two decades, but McGovern said that isn't so.
"We've seen a high level of violence, high level of gang activity," McGovern said. "There's arms trafficking going on. Child trafficking. You name it. A lot of families, you know, are leaving here because they're afraid for their lives and their children."
McGovern said it's critical for Congress to intervene and continue this status to prevent thousands of families from being separated, and to keep them safe.
WBZ NewsRadio 1030's Nichole Davis (@NicholeDWBZ) reports