Report Details How Central American Migrants are Forced to Flee Their Homes 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 24, 2022
CONTACT: 
Elyssa Pachico  | +1 503 347 23 29 | press@alianzaamericas.org 
Myneilles Negron | +1 703 585 6727 | mynellies@communicationsshop.us

 

Fact-finding Mission by Activists, U.S. Officials Examines Current Causes of Forced Migration from Central America

 

 

Chicago, October 24, 2022 — After an August 2022 fact-finding mission to Guatemala and Honduras, led by Lawyers for Civil Rights (LCR), Centro Presente, GreenRoots, and Alianza Americas, a new report (titled Fleeing, not Migrating: Crisis in Central America) sheds light on the fundamental causes of migration from Central America. The report explores the political, economic, and social conditions of both countries through an intersectional approach, emphasizing major current causes of migration: climate change and the erosion of the rule of law and democracy throughout Central America.

“One of our principal findings is that people don’t want to abandon their countries of origin: they are being forced to flee because of a toxic mix of violence, impunity, back-sliding democratic practices, and climate change disasters,” said Oscar Chacón, executive director of Alianza Americas. “The U.S. government should tailor policy towards Central America that accounts for the new realities. At the very least, this should include expanding our limited existing humanitarian protection mechanisms, including TPS, to account for people displaced by climate change events, as well as other humanitarian protection challenges,” he added.

 

The report also points out the urgent need for the U.S. government to adapt its immigration policy to the current reality of the causes of migration from Central America. “Officials, policymakers, lawyers, and community leaders should become more familiar with the root causes of migration to better understand why families, women, and children are forced to flee their homes. This is especially useful to better serve the growing Central American and immigrant population in the United States,” says Hazel Contreras, coordinator for Central America at Alianza Americas.

 

The report’s recommendations include:

  • The U.S. government should create legal protections for climate refugees, beyond existing humanitarian programs like Temporary Protected Status (TPS).
  • Federal policies must account for and adapt in the face of current causes of migration. 
  • The Engel list, a measure promoted by the U.S. government that in theory seeks to punish people accused of corruption and anti-democracy in Central America, is ineffective. Central American government actors must be held individually responsible, penalized, and sanctioned for shielding and harboring individuals on the list.

 

“Central American migrants do not leave their home country willingly. The real reasons that push so many Hondurans and Guatemalans to flee are the entrenched inequities, extreme food insecurity, alarming femicide rates, and the erosion of democracy across Central America,” said Iván Espinoza-Madrigal, executive director of Lawyers for Civil Rights. “We must ensure that we have the appropriate mechanisms in place to address this humanitarian crisis.”

 

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Alianza Americas is the premier transnational advocacy network of Latin American migrant-led organizations working in the United States, across the Americas, and globally to create an inclusive, equitable and sustainable way of life for communities across North, Central and South America. Alianza’s digital organizing powerhouse is Presente.org.

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