WASHINGTON—Led by Representative Eliot L. Engel (D-NY), the Ranking Member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, and Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Chair Emeritus of the Foreign Affairs Committee, a bipartisan group of 12 Members of Congress today affirmed their support for the courageous work being carried out by the Attorneys General from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras and stated that they believe political leaders in these countries must allow them to carry out their work free from any interference.

“Recent efforts in the region intended to impeach or remove Attorneys General – or shorten their terms – send a troubling message regarding legislative and executive branch support for the impartiality of your offices. While we recognize there are constitutional provisions allowing for the possible removal of Attorneys General when justified, our Congress is skeptical of recent maneuvers to remove Attorneys General who are clearly committed to fighting corruption and organized crime,” the Members wrote in their letter.

The letter was co-signed by Reps. Jeff Duncan (R-SC), Albio Sires (D-NJ), David G. Valadao (R-CA), Norma J. Torres (D-CA), Carlos Curbelo (R-FL), Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), John Moolenaar (R-MI), James P. McGovern (D-MA), Ted S. Yoho (R-FL) and Tony Cárdenas (D-CA).

Full text of the letter follows, and an image of the signed letter can be found here.

December 19, 2016

Dear Attorneys General Melendez, Aldana and Chinchilla:

As strong advocates of the Northern Triangle’s Alliance for Prosperity Plan, we write to express our continued support for your excellent work fighting corruption and organized crime in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras. Please count on us to push for continued assistance to your offices in the coming years, particularly as you fight corruption, promote transparency, and end impunity in your countries.

We believe it is imperative that your political leaders allow you to carry out your work free from any interference. Recent efforts in the region intended to impeach or remove Attorneys General – or shorten their terms – send a troubling message regarding legislative and executive branch support for the impartiality of your offices. While we recognize there are constitutional provisions allowing for the possible removal of Attorneys General when justified, our Congress is skeptical of recent maneuvers to remove Attorneys General who are clearly committed to fighting corruption and organized crime. In addition, we think it is crucial that your successors be selected through fair and transparent processes that emphasize professionalism, impartiality and honesty above all else.

Finally, given the dangerous nature of your work, we believe it is essential that you and the prosecutors in your offices have access to the best possible personal security protection. We look forward to working with you to ensure that your security needs are fully met.

We very much appreciate your outstanding efforts to curb impunity in the Northern Triangle. Holding individuals who commit crimes responsible for their actions is fundamental as we all work together to improve citizen security in Central America. We look forward to our continued, joint efforts.

###