Alianza Americas rejects the Memorandum of Cooperation that aims at criminalizing mixed flows undermining their humanitarian protection needs
CHICAGO, March 29, 2019 — The signature of a Memorandum of Cooperation on border security cooperation in Central American between the Guatemalan Minister of Government, Honduran Minister of Security, Salvadoran Minister of Justice and Public Security and the US Secretary of Homeland Security was announced yesterday. The Memorandum aims at synchronizing cooperation “to bolster border security, prevent the formation of new migrant caravans, and address the root causes of the migration crisis”.
Oscar Chacon, the Executive Director of Alianza Americas said the following:
“The Memorandum of Cooperation is particularly troubling. The announced purposes of the Memorandum contravene fundamental human rights including freedom of movement, particularly the right to leave one’s country of origin and the right to seek asylum. It criminalizes individual and collective decisions to travel in large groups to the US across Central America and Mexico. It attempts to stop mixed flows of asylum seekers and migrants with a security approach that seeks to instill fear on those who are forced to leave their countries of origin and residence, seeking safety.
A humanitarian crisis is not addressed by limiting or persecuting those who are fleeing their countries, but rather by addressing their humanitarian needs as they travel, ensuring conditions of safety, transportation, food, shelter and health care. The approach envisioned in the Memorandum of Cooperation will not address the current humanitarian crisis, but will only worsen it, by persecuting those who flee.
Criminalization and security, as key policy tenets, fail to address the root causes of the mass exodus. The decision to travel in large groups is the result of the worsening conditions in the countries of origin. Entire family groups, men and women flee because they fear for their lives, because they are targeted as a result of their political opinions, their gender identity and sexual orientation, their supposed allegiance or submission to organized criminal organizations, and because they have suffered violence at the hands of state agents, criminal organizations or their spouses or partners. They leave their countries because they have no expectation of finding protection because there is no rule of law and no other option. They understand the risks and difficulties of the journey and find safety in numbers. They travel fearful of corrupt state agents, criminal organizations who control the territory and the danger of a 4,000 km journey.
This is not a joint effort to address a humanitarian crisis, but rather a common cause against migrants from Central America and from many other parts of the world who travel through the region. Safe, orderly and regular migration is not achieved through the persecution of irregular migration, but rather with the creation of conditions in the countries of origin that do not make fleeing the only survival option.
Alianza Americas express its greatest concern over the Memorandum and laments that the four signatories have failed to protect mixed flows in the region, turning their back on the humanitarian needs of the continuous mass exodus. It is particularly concerning, that the governments of Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala are turning their backs on their nationals. This approach is contrary to their international human rights obligations and to the most basic principles of humanity. We will continue monitoring the situation in the region.”
Alianza Americas is a network of 50 immigrant-led organizations representing more than 100,000 families across the United States. It is the only US-based organization rooted in Latino and Caribbean immigrant communities that works transnationally to create an inclusive, equitable, and sustainable way of life. Learn more at alianzaamericas.org.