Forcing Asylum Seekers to “Remain in Mexico” Subjects Them to “Web of Endless Violence”
CHICAGO – November 26, 2018 – Central American asylum seekers attempting to cross the heavily militarized US-Mexico border crossing were met with tear gas on Sunday. The violent incident played out less than a day after the Trump Administration announced it had brokered a preliminary “Remain in Mexico” plan with the incoming administration of Mexican President-elect Andrés Manuel López Obrador, a claim that Mexico has since denied. If implemented, the policy would break with internationally-recognized law and require asylum seekers to stay in Mexico while their cases are being processed in the U.S. Oscar Chacón, executive director of Alianza Americas, issued the following statement in response:
“This weekend’s events demonstrate a cruel reality: Myriad merciless systems are conspiring to wrap Central American migrants in a suffocating web of endless violence. Fleeing horrific conditions—including threats against their lives—in their home countries, these families are now meeting government-backed violence from the United States. And now, they could be held in limbo along one of the most dangerous slivers of the Americas: the US-Mexico border, a place where violence against migrants has been well documented.
Human beings seeking protection deserve better, especially from neighboring nations that purport to value human rights, family unity, the safety of children, and—in the case of Mexico—the well-being of migrant communities.
Alianza Americas has long expressed its disgust with the Trump Administration’s cruel stance on migration policy. We call on the incoming administration of President-elect López Obrador to uphold its campaign promises to champion human rights and protect migrants as it assumes office on December 1.
The systems perpetuating this violence and suffering were put in place long before the Trump Administration, but they have reached a cruel climax under its watch. Since this spring, the White House has been fixated on cracking down on Central American migrants—refugees in every sense of the word—with a host of cruel developments: separating families, narrowing asylum channels, strong-arming Mexico to carry out its anti-immigrant agenda, and reversing decades-old child protections. These ineffective policies, ostensibly designed to stem migration, do little more than push desperate families into irregular, dangerous migration channels, including the hands of human smugglers.
Alianza Americas calls on governments across the Americas to break this horrific web of violence, protect migrant families across our hemisphere, and to end the need for migration by partnering with civil society to build communities where all people can live and thrive. While there is no silver bullet to the complex challenges driving the exodus of families from Central America, stakeholders across our hemisphere must collaborate in supporting democracy, equity, justice, human rights, and dignity across borders.”
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.
Additional Information & Interviews:
Leaders Alianza Americas and member organizations are currently in Mexico, providing humanitarian and legal assistance to Central American migrant families. Interviews can be arranged from the field upon request. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com for details.