Caravan Highlights Urgent Need for Protections, Pathways for Central Americans Seeking Safety
CHICAGO—October 18, 2018—A caravan of Honduran asylum seekers is making its way north, seeking refuge from crushing poverty and violence escalating throughout Central America. The caravan, which has yet to reach the United States, has prompted alarmist tweets from President Trump, who has threatened to withdraw foreign aid from Honduras if the caravan is not stopped. Oscar Chacón, executive director of Alianza Americas, has issued the following statement in response to this development:
“Everyone can agree that people—especially children—should live free from fear for their safety and security. The United States’ tradition of providing refuge for the vulnerable has been a bedrock of our country’s shared values for generations. The White House should be calling for peer governments to protect migrants in their route to safety, rather than threaten punishment and sanctions.
In denying caravan members’—asylum seekers in every sense—human rights to seek safety, the Trump Administration is ignoring decades of legal precedent amongst international human rights organizations and governmental organizations. It is also denying the United States’ complicity in creating the very situations from which Central Americans are fleeing. Decades of failed foreign policy, coupled recent draconian changes to asylum policy, leave Central American families with an impossible choice: Stay in countries with the world’s highest homicide rates, or migrate towards safety and be subject to the whims of an erratic and xenophobic White House.
Rather than punishing caravan members and threatening to cut foreign aid, the Trump Administration would do well to build channels that offer options for orderly migration for Central American asylum seekers. The Central American Minors Program, known as CAM, offered such a pathway, at least in theory, because it was never fully implemented. The program would have allowed children facing persecution and violence in Central America to apply for asylum in-country, without having to make the dangerous journey north to the U.S. border. After more than two thousand children had been vetted and approved for admission to the United States, the Trump Administration abruptly terminated the CAM program late last year.
Alianza Americas, representing 100,000 migrant families across the United States, calls for protections of migrants in all countries across the Americas, respect for people’s’ rights to seek safety and asylum, and a reinstatement of CAM or other channels for in-country processing of asylum applications.”
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.