Photo: Santo Domingo Ingenio, Oaxaca/Mexico – Nov. 8, 2018: Honduran women and children fleeing poverty and gang violence in the second caravan to the U.S. sit in a dump truck taking them to their next stop. (Shutterstock)
WASHINGTON — This week, as a new group from Honduras began a grueling and dangerous journey from Central America toward the U.S. border, Refuge for Families continues to raise awareness about the worsening conditions causing people to flee their homelands and the human rights abuses they suffer as they travel northward.
Refuge for Families members are also increasing demands on the Trump Administration to do away with the so-called “asylum agreements” that deny humanitarian protections to people who are already suffering.
“The news that Honduran families and individuals once again have come together to leave Honduras fills us with sadness, understanding the level of desperation that drives such a decision,” said Oscar Chacon, executive member of Refuge for Families and an executive director of Alianza Américas. “They have already faced a harsh path, and their effort to seek safety is made all the harder by the Trump administration’s deliberate and multi-faceted strategy to block asylum, remove humanitarian protections, and attack immigrant families.”
Over the last year, Refuge for Families sponsored three delegations to Central American to better understand, communicate, and solve the desperate conditions people are facing, both in their home countries and along the migration routes. As part of these delegations, community leaders, elected officials, journalists, and scholars visited refugee shelters in Guatemala, Tapachula, Mex. and Mexico City, explored conditions in Honduras’ northern coast and in El Salvador, and spoke with government officials on the ground.
“The asylum agreements entered by the administration and leaders of Central American countries have made an already chaotic and dangerous situation worse. Under these agreements, people seeking asylum in the U.S. southern border are being returned to unsustainable and ill-equipped conditions in Mexico, and now Guatemala, as they wait for their cases to be processed,” said Sulma Arias, Executive member of Refuge for Families and Immigration Field Director for the Fair Immigration Reform Movement (FIRM). “Families fleeing violence should be able to seek refuge and build their lives in a safe place. That’s what we’re fighting for—and what we will continue to fight for every time refugees seek asylum at the border.”
Refuge for Families demands the reversal of the Migrant Protection Protocols (“Remain in Mexico”) and the bilateral agreements with Central American countries that deny people their internationally recognized rights to request asylum and return them to danger. The end result is tangible harm to people, including many families and children, who already face harrowing living conditions both at home and in their journey. This campaign aims to work towards establishing humanitarian solutions that both protect human rights and leave a lasting impact by addressing the root causes of forced migration in Central America.
Refuge for Families, led by the National Partnership for New Americans (NPNA), the Fair Immigration Reform Movement (FIRM), Alianza Americas, and We Are All America, has worked to uplift and educate the public on the underlying causes of migration in the region and supports accountable, citizen-led foreign policy strategies addressing the causes of exodus along the Central America-US corridor.
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