Alianza Americas engages and supports partners in Mexico as they respond to the Central American exodus

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Very quickly after the exodus of Central Americans began moving through Mexico in caravans, Alianza Americas realized that this new migration pattern required a careful, coordinated response.  Starting in November, our team launched a series of working exchanges with organizations in Mexico that that are offering shelter, legal assistance, and psychosocial support to migrants and asylum seekers.
The first mobile outreach visit, led by Helena Olea and Zorayda Avila, included exchanges with human rights organizations, shelters, and other groups working with migrants in cities along the transit route– Tapachula, In Chiapas; Mexico City, and Saltillo, in Coahuila.

During the working exchange visits, the Alianza team first listens to the needs and challenges facing these local service providers as they struggle to respond to the diverse needs of Central American refugees.  Alianza Americas legal experts then answer questions and provide up to date information on the US asylum and migration system, explaining the similarities and differences between the asylum system in the United States and the refugee status determination procedures in Mexico. The working exchanges also provide a space for strategy on shared advocacy for policies and practices that can better protect migrants.  A needs assessment that includes both material, financial and human resources needs rounds out the visit.
More visits– to shelters in Jalisco and Veracruz– are planned for January 2019.
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You can support these efforts:
You can provide financial support to shelters shelters in Mexico here.

If you want to volunteer for humanitarian assistance, contact Zorayda Avila at [email protected]
If you wish to contribute as a legal volunteer, contact Helena Olea at [email protected]

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Read more about the learning exchange visits below:

Tapachula, Chiapas


The first exchange workshop took place in Tapachula, on the southern border of Mexico. Tapachula is the first city that Central American migrants pass through as they enter Mexico from the south.  The organizations working in Tapachula that participated in the exchange– Jesuit Refugee Service and the Fray Matías de Córdova Human Rights Center emphasized the need for new methods of providing legal information to large groups and in small doses, for people are staying only a short period of time before moving northward.  Two areas that the local partners raised up as concerns are the absence of humanitarian assistance in Southern Mexico and some alarming new outbreaks of xenophobic attacks and demonstrations.


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Mexico City


In Mexico City, the Alianza Americas team was able to meet with a number of different organizations, including:  Jesuit Migrants Service, Refugee House Program, Tochan House, San Carlos Borromeo Migrant House, CAMMI, CCIAMP, San Juan de Dios Migrant House, El Samaritano Migrant House, Migrant Pilgrim House, and IMUMI. This gathering proved to be an important space for sharing among organizations that had been in “crisis” mode and had not taken the time to share experiences or discuss how best to coordinate.


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Saltillo, Coahuila



In Saltillo,  several organizations—Casa Nicolás, Casa Monarca, Casa de Migrantes de Saltillo, from Coahuila and Nuevo León— participated in the exchange.  In a lively conversation, the characteristics, needs, and profiles of the persons who are part of the current exodus were discussed. After learning from the Alianza team about the US asylum procedures and the possibilities for cooperation and information sharing with key local actors ,  participants strategized together about how best to coordinate so that potential asylum seekers could be connected with resources after they cross the border.
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