Central American migrant caravan
A caravan of about 7,000 Central American migrants entered Mexico in mid-October. Though this caravan is unusually large, traveling together is common as migrants are less likely to be victims of violence in a bigger group. Most are fleeing violence and poverty in their home communities. As with previous caravans, many people are likely to seek asylum or work in Mexico. People have the right to seek asylum in a country where they feel safe, including the United States or Mexico. The caravan is currently in southern Mexico but now numbers about half of its original size.
In response, President Trump is deploying 5,200 military troops to the U.S.-Mexico border (which could increase to 15,000) and is threatening to build tent cities to hold asylum seekers (including families) indefinitely, restrict access to asylum (in violation of U.S. law) and suspend aid to Central American countries. The military action, tent cities and a request for additional border walls all come with significant financial costs—which is why advocacy on Fiscal Year 2019 federal spending bills is so important.
Take action: Keep families together, oppose walls and detention
Latin America Working Group: Migrant caravan: Answers to your most pressing questions
DPRK (North Korea): In recent weeks changes in U.S. policies have blocked staff of U.S. organizations from traveling to North Korea to monitor humanitarian assistance. The U.S. government has an obligation under applicable UN Security Council resolutions to allow humanitarian access to the DPRK. Write to your senators asking them to support humanitarian exemptions that enable life-saving aid for North Korea. Read more | Take action
Immigration: On October 3, a federal judge temporarily blocked the Trump administration from ending Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for about 300,000 people from El Salvador, Haiti, Nicaragua and Sudan. On October 10, the Department of Homeland Security waived 28 laws to speed construction of border walls in Texas. The administration is reportedly considering a new policy to separate or detain families seeking asylum. Read about these issues and more in the October immigration update. President Trump also indicated last week he might issue an executive order to overturn the right of birthright citizenship, but legal scholars argue that removing a protection enshrined in the U.S. Constitution will not be so easy.
Photo: “We are all one family,” reads a painted wall at MCC partner Casa Alitas, a house in Tucson, Arizona, where asylum seekers are welcomed. MCC photo/Katherine Smith
January 25, 2019 is the deadline for submitting essays for our annual MCC U.S. Washington Office essay contest. Essays should be submitted to your nearest MCC regional office.
April 5-8: Registration is now open for the Ecumenical Advocacy Days 2019 national gathering in Washington, D.C.
Photo: Participants of the Global South Voices tour visits congressional offices in Washington, DC. MCC photo.
Photo: Our Volunteer Advocacy Coordinators Network. MCC photo/Cherelle M. Dessus.