FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
June 6, 2021
Fernanda Durand (443) 396-3317 firstname.lastname@example.org
Nancy Treviño (786) 201-8958 email@example.com
GUATEMALA CITY–– Ahead of Vice President Harris’ arrival to Guatemala, Alianza Americas and Presente.org joined a delegation of national and regional Guatemalan organizations this week to deliver a set of recommendations for VP Harris that address human mobility and migration in Guatemala. Organizations will be present throughout her visit and share an assessment of her time in the Central American nation.
“In March, President Biden tasked Vice President Harris to handle diplomatic efforts with Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, and Mexico and to specifically address the root causes of migration from the region. We appreciate Vice President Harris’ leadership and her meeting the moment by visiting Guatemala and Mexico in order to tackle this humanitarian issue. We know that many factors in the region contribute to people migrating from their home countries seeking a better life. It’s imperative that as Vice President Harris works alongside Central American governments, she also works with civil society organizations strengthening the rule of law and democratic governance and promoting and defending human rights to address inequality, corruption, violence, and the climate crisis,” stated Oscar Chacon, executive director of Alianza Americas.
“We welcome Vice President Harris’ visit to Guatemala and Mexico and emphasize the need to meet with civil society organizations defending human rights, especially those representing indigenous and peasant communities who have been vulnerable to the effects of climate change. In order to have a comprehensive approach when addressing the root causes of migration the voices of grassroots leaders must be heard and we hope Vice President Harris gives them a seat at the table,” stated Matt Nelson, executive director of Presente.org.
As Vice President Harris leads a mission to Guatemala, Alianza Americas and Presente.org have issued the following preliminary recommendations for Vice President Harris:
- Identify critical economic policy changes designed to boost employment, salary rates, true universal access to education and health care, and a tax reform intended to get those with the highest income levels to pay their fair-share in financing shared and sustainable progress.
- Strengthening the rule of law is a priority. Funding and training for the administration of justice are essential in the fight against corruption and impunity.
- Acknowledge the invaluable role played by civil society organizations in Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, particularly those that are indigenous and afrodescendant expressions in this sector at the grassroots level, and elevate them as key future partners.
- Support national, as well as local efforts, to strengthen local economies, the governance of mayors and local authorities, the improvement of local infrastructure, fiscal management, access to services, and development.
- Actively help in the process to secure a new designation of Temporary Protected Status for nationals from Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador, and Nicaragua who are already residing in the US. As it is well documented, the remittances sent by these populations to their families back home constitute the largest source of financial support to millions of households in these countries. Securing safety from deportation, as well as employment authorizations in the US, would greatly enhance their capacity to keep helping their loved ones.
- Initiate a partnership between the US government, and Central American communities in the US, centered around the implementation of a shared pro-democracy, pro sustainable prosperity agenda. This partnership should recognize the fact that the biggest investors in Central American prosperity have been and will continue to be the nationals from these countries residing in the US.
- Support the definition, adoption, and whenever applicable the strengthening and implementation of public policies in Central American countries and in Mexico for mitigation and adaptation to climate change, and to respond to environmental damage through prevention, humanitarian attention, and lasting solutions for those affected.
- Facilitate and expand options for authorized migration. In the area of labor-based migration, it is crucial to review current recruitment practices to eliminate abuse. Practices associated with the securement of temporary employment visas should ensure adherence to labor rights every step of the way, and guarantee access to labor justice for all migrant workers regardless of their immigration status.
- Support a zero-tolerance policy on detention and/or separation of migrant families, particularly when there are children involved.
- Support the enactment of administrative and legislative policy changes designed to reinforce family reunification.
- Support the immediate end in the use of Title 42, as the chief tool to keep denying the right of people to apply for humanitarian protection in the US.
- Ensure compliance with the principle of non-deportation and due process for accessing options for regular migration or to request different forms of humanitarian protection, ending arbitrary removals and detentions.
As human rights organizations, we are willing and able to amplify on each of these recommendations, as well as to add new ones as this process moves forward. We are also prepared to contribute to the implementation of these recommendations with the Biden-Harris administration and in partnership with civil society organizations in Central America. We need new approaches to address the root causes of migration in a way that promotes the essential pillars of strengthening family unity and stronger mechanisms for humanitarian protection acknowledging the fundamentally positive impact of migration in the USA, and in Central American nations, as well as the human dignity of all people in the region.
Alianza Americas is a network of migrant-led organizations working in the United States and transnationally to create an inclusive, equitable and sustainable way of life for communities across North, Central and South America.
Presente.org is the nation’s largest online Latinx organizing group — and the nation’s premier Latinx digital organizing hub — advancing social justice with technology, media, and culture. Build Power. Change Culture. ¡Stay Presente!