Refuge and restoration – Central America: migration and its causes

The prophet Isaiah said much about how a godly society should conduct its affairs. He spoke about being a refuge to those fleeing danger and oppression, instructing his people to “share your bread with the hungry, and bring the homeless poor into your house” (16:4, 58:7). Isaiah’s vision of a community in harmony with God is one that is called “the repairer of the breach, the restorer of streets to live in” (58:12).

As more migrants have come to the United States from Central America in recent years, the U.S. government has not sought primarily to provide refuge or to look deeper into the reasons why people are fleeing their home communities. Rather, the U.S. response has largely focused on how to stop the migration and send people back quickly.

This issue of the Washington Memo shares the stories of Mennonite Central Committee’s work in Central America and in the United States. It also examines the ways in which U.S. policy–both immigration and foreign policy–can address the needs of those seeking refuge, while at the same time acting as a “restorer of streets to live in” so that fewer will feel the need to leave home.


  1. Getting to the root of why people leave home
  2. The right to live with dignity
  3. Seeking refuge in the U.S.
  4. The journey of an asylum seeker
  5. Worship resources
  6. Policy principles
    Download the full Washington Memo print edition (PDF)