January 5, 2021 – Without a doubt, the last 10 months have significantly changed how we live. Our daily activities became subject to important modifications, forcing us to adapt to new routines and take on new challenges. The loss of human life, along with the impact on health and employment, the economic recession, the suspension of educational activities, and adapting to working and living remotely, has affected us all. For millions of essential workers, many of them immigrants or people living in the United States without immigration status, carrying out their work meant exposing themselves daily to the risk of Covid-19 infection.
This has also been a year in which mobilizations against systemic racism and violence against women have reached unprecented levels, with similar events taking place around the world. For migrants, the pandemic created additional new challenges: restrictions on mobility, borders closing and quarantines have made it even more difficult to leave a country and enter another. We watch with concern how options to seek protection and migrate are closed, and we are hurt by the persistence of expulsions and deportations.
For Alianza Americas, the pandemic coincided with a review of our programmatic objectives, and the challenge of examining whether the vision we constructed was adequately responding to the old and new challenges we face. During our Leadership Assembly last November, we had the opportunity to discuss these issues with our members. In the coming year we will work together to rise up in the midst of the crisis and build equitable, just and democratic political, social and economic relationships. It is fundamental that we build a network for social protection under which all people can trust that their life, health and wellbeing are the government’s priorities, and that they work to assure that nobody is left behind. We will unite our efforts with our members and allies to advance in building inclusive communities where the rights of all people are guaranteed and protected. These are the central axes to our work in 2021.
1- Identify and promote alternatives that challenge inequalities across borders
We will articulate our work taking into account fears generated by economic inequality, as it has been progressively increasing over the past several decades. We will highlight the ways in which economic inequality affects the vast majority of people, including those born in the U.S. and those born abroad. The pandemic has highlighted the historic health disparities affecting Black communities and Native Americans, as well as the wide range of Latin Americans, which have led to Covid-19’s impact being disproportionately concentrated in these communities. As of 2021, we will prioritize addressing these challenges. We will maintain a transnational perspective as an essential characteristic of our work, insisting on the need to identify the inequities and inequalities that force people to flee their countries, while also building and promoting alternatives that challenge them. To respond to restrictions on mobility, we will lead virtual delegations as part of our education and advocacy work. Understanding the political, social and economic situations in Central America, Mexico and the United States is fundamental to defining immigration and foreign policy. The impact of climate change in the Central America – Mexico – United States corridor should be incorporated into the understanding of human mobility throughout the region. We will focus on different forms of discrimination and exclusion using an intersectional approach. Developing virtual seminars and advocacy actions at the national, regional and global levels aimed at challenging inequities and inequalities and at formulating policy proposals that utilize effective measures to issues of the environment, immigration, labor, the economy and education. Also fundamental to Alianza Americas is the creation of alternatives towards a just and dignified life in both countries of origin and countries where we reside.
2- Propose and defend innovative ways to practice democracy
The result of the 2016 presidential election, along with all that has happened over the past four years, has exposed the fragile state of democratic governance. The need to redefine, defend and deepen democracy was shown again through the framework of the 2020 electoral process. We will work to generate broad and inclusive spaces for political participation. We will promote the exercising of political rights for all people, encouraging political participation amongst immigrants in the U.S. as well as in their countries of origin. People’s demands and expectations should be channeled through mechanisms of electoral participation based on the principle that they are residents of a specific jurisdiction, without exclusion. We are also interested in expanding the ways in which a legislative proposal can be initiated, the ways in which citizens can be consulted, and effectively exercising the right to hold elected officials who represent them accountable. The reason for being part of the State should be to protect people. The gradual abandonment of this principle over previous decades has been amply demonstrated in the context of the public health battle driven by Covid-19.
3- Recognize and promote the highly positive value of migrants
The fight against racism and xenophobia must be an ethical priority in all societies. We will promote abandoning the false, dehumanizing and demonizing narratives against ethnic and racial minorities, including the discourse of hate that has been systemically directed towards people of Latin American origin, especially Mexicans, since the beginning of the 1990s. Current immigration laws were formed as part of the aforementioned narrative of hate. We will develop actions to denounce and advocate for an end to violence by police, military and other bodies meant to enforce laws against afrodescendentes and indigenous people and other ethnic and racial minorities, including immigrants. We will insist on fighting against impunity for violent acts committed by non-state agents, and on the importance of violence prevention. We will place particular emphasis on advocating against policies and actions that are based on racist and xenophobic discourses. At the same time, we will work to ensure that the contributions of migrants and migration in building resilient communities are recognized. Local, state and federal laws should be reformed in a way that reflect the highly positive value of migrants. We will support and promote diverse leadership that expresses the demands and expectations of different sectors. We will continue working as a network, betting on the development of our capacity and highlighting our contributions as leaders in our communities.
4 – Defend human rights in mobility
Defending human mobility as an inalienable right and insisting on the duty of the State to guarantee and protect human rights in mobility, without limitations or exclusions, is our fourth programmatic objective. Our advocacy work will be concentrated not only in reversing the Trump administration’s anti-immigrant policies, including the externalization of migration policy to Mexico and Central America, but also in moving towards a migration policy that guarantees and protects human rights and as well as protective asylum and refugee policies. We will work for diverse pathways towards regular migratory status* for all people, including those protected by TPS and DACA in the United States. We will continue advocating for a Temporary Protected Status designation in the United States for Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala due to the hurricanes and tropical storms of 2020, and humanitarian visas for the same four nationalities in Mexico.
We invite you to support and join our initiatives. There is a lot to do, and we have the capacity to build alliances and raise our voices with clear proposals. Let’s get back to work!
* By regular migratory status or regularization we mean creating options or pathways within the legal system for migrants to acquire a regular or legalized status.